President Joe Biden signed an executive order which aims to help and protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination and ensure LGBTQ members have access to health care.
Bruce Parker, deputy director for Out Boulder County, believes it is a meaningful step in the LGBTQ fight for equality.
“The order was pretty broad sweeping and it will help kids, limit the use of conversion therapy and help homeless LGBT people. It sort of goes a long way to taking some minor, but meaningful steps to help the federal government be more LGBT friendly and exclusive,” Parker said.
The executive order specifically targets anti-LGBT legislation, safeguarding LGBT health care, protecting the LGBT homeless population and conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is close to Parker’s and Out Boulder’s heart. Parker believes this practice is incredibly dangerous for LGBTQ youth and working on preventing said practices are vital.
“That’s the thing I have been thinking about since the day the executive order dropped, how many people’s lives may be saved just because of trying to cut off funding to support a practice that is just deadly for people like me and in my community,” Parker said.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, Parker feels proud and safer after the executive order was signed.
“I think that anytime somebody with that much power, like the president or the governor, does anything to help protect a community that you are a part of and that you grew up ashamed of or scared of being a part of, it really resonates,” Parker said.
However, while Parker believes that executive orders are important and meaningful, he does not believe they are long-term or consistent enough to foster true change.
“Any time you are depending on executive action to sort of give you your rights or keep you safe, it can go away when the executive changes,” Parker said.
Parker believes the next step is to sign the Equality Act into law. The Equality Act is a bill that aims to prohibit discrimination base on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing and credit.
“The only way to solidify those rights is to pass the Equality Act and other laws like it through congress and have them signed by the president, so they don’t expire when the administration changes and so it is harder to have them overturned by the court,” Parker said.
Parker described himself as an optimist and believes that the LGBTQ community will only continue to progress.
“I just think that the next generation of LGBTQ people are going to be transformative for our society because I think many of them are having access to support that I couldn’t have imagined thirty years ago,” Parker said.