White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told people to “stay tuned” when she was asked about whether President Joe Biden will nominate any lesbians or transgender people to be ambassadors.
At the White House Press Briefing yesterday, the Washington Blade‘s Chris Johnson asked Psaki about “representation of American diversity overseas.”
“The United States has never had a lesbian woman or transgender person as an ambassador,” Johnson said. “Is the President missing an opportunity to name those firsts?”
Psaki first said that not many ambassadors have been named yet, so it’s not that Biden has missed any opportunities in this area yet.
“We hope to soon [name more ambassadors]; stay tuned,” she responded. “Certainly, the President looks to ensuring that the people representing him — not just in the United States, but around the world — represent the diversity of the country, and that certainly includes people who are LGBTQ, members of the transgender community.”
Johnson pressed on this, asking her to define “soon.”
“What is that, like days, months, weeks?” he asked.
She dodged the question, saying that Biden will “continue to consider a range of options for a lot of the positions that are out there and still remain vacant.”
Johnson also asked Psaki what exactly Biden meant when he told a joint session of Congress last week when he said he would stand up for transgender youth.
“To all the transgender Americans watching at home — especially the young people who are so brave – I want you to know that your president has your back,” Biden said during the speech, referring to the onslaught of bills state lawmakers are passing this year to curtail transgender equality, bills that have mostly been attacking transgender youth and their access to gender-affirming health care and their right to participate in school sports.
“The President’s inclusion of transgender people in his speech to Congress is significant in and of itself, but what will the president “having their backs” look like going forward?” Johnson asked.
Psaki brought up the executive orders Biden signed, including one that said that Title IX already bans anti-LGBTQ discrimination in schools because it bans discrimination “on the basis of sex.” It’s impossible, according to the legal argument, to discriminate against an LGBTQ person without taking their sex into account.
Biden has “also used the power of the bully pulpit in his presidency to convey that transgender rights are human rights,” she continued. “And that is his belief and the view of his administration, and how he expects policies to be implemented… ensuring that transgender youth have the opportunity to play sports, and to be treated equally in states across the country.”
When asked about whether the administration will participate in lawsuits against states passing anti-trans bills or take legal action of its own, Psaki said that she couldn’t answer and referred the reporter to the Department of Justice.
Jen Psaki talks potential LGBTQ ambassadors, commitment to trans youth
Posted by Washington Blade on Tuesday, May 4, 2021