For folks who identify as trans or nonbinary, a major signal shift has occurred in the White House as President Joe Biden took office — and no, it’s not just news about the nomination of Dr. Rachel Levine, who could become the assistant health secretary and the first-ever transgender woman to go through the nomination process of the federal government.
Actually, it’s a much more low-key piece of news than that — but it is still very significant. and it’s about White House website visitors finally being able to fill out online forms that include gender-neutral pronouns and titles in the drop down menu.
The change reflects President Joe Biden’s support of the LGBTQIA+ community, beginning with an updated contact form that lets people include their pronouns that extend beyond the boilerplate “she/her” and “he/him.”
Biden has kicked-off his term with a host of executive actions, including removing Trump’s travel ban affecting Muslim-majority countries, rejoining the Paris climate accord, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, extending the pause on student loan payments, stopping the construction of the U.S. Southern border wall, rejoining the World Health Organization, and signing an executive order aimed at combatting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, among other actions.
In addition to these orders, Biden has also spearheaded some much-needed changes to The White House website that illustrate a stark departure from Trump. Now, if you search whitehouse.gov, you’ll be greeted by a few long-overdue, important additions to the site.
In the contact form’s new dropdown menu for prefixes, people can now choose the gender-neutral Mx., and in the pronouns section, they can click on: she/her, he/him, they/them, or they can select “other” or “prefer not to share.” And lots of people took to Twitter to share their support for Biden’s allyship and efforts to make a more inclusive White House website.
— GLAAD (@glaad) January 20, 2021
We hope this is the Biden administration’s first step in fully recognizing who we are.https://t.co/oPmiq8lbuR
— ACLU (@ACLU) January 21, 2021
Educators: the god damn White House is doing it, you have no more excuses for not allowing students space to provide their pronouns. https://t.co/YjTOmU144l
— Dr. Tim, koolaidologist (@Tim_H) January 20, 2021
— Katrice Quitter (she/her) (@katricequitter) January 21, 2021
— Equality California (@eqca) January 20, 2021
This is a truly important show of solidarity and respect for people who may have struggled with government forms because they can’t fill out the information that corresponds to who they are. On Biden’s first full day of his presidency, it looks like he’s already off to a validating start.