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LGBTQ protection included in President Biden’s executive orders

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — President Joe Biden is making moves to combat discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

He has signed an executive order to get it done, but advocates said local officials need to feel added pressure. Housing experts said Biden’s executive order won’t unilateral make changes immediately.

Discrimination continues to be a problem for people in the LGBTQ community, particularly when it relates to housing security. LGBTQ Americans make up a large percentage of the homeless population.

“We still really need affirmative protections to clarify all Americans that they have a right to housing they have a right to a job,” said Kit Malone, an advocate and educator with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

A Supreme Court decision in the summer defined the law to protect against workplace discrimination, but Biden is looking to add to that.

Malone said, “It feels just in the last 24 hours that we’ve gone from moving against the wind to having the wind at our backs.”

In one of executive orders Biden has signed, one is called “Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” In part it reads: “People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Amy Nelson with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana said, “There needs to be additional protections whether there’s the city of Indianapolis beefing up their local ordinances so that it is equal.”

In Indiana, no state laws protect LGBTQ Hoosiers from discrimination. Some Indiana cities have ordinances that don’t include full protections.

Nelson said, “Here in Indianapolis, if someone thought that they had been discriminated against due to their sexual orientation and they filed a complaint at a local level, they could basically only get their out-of-pocket costs.”