The Biden administration made history Thursday by raising the transgender flag outside the Department of Health and Human Services, making it the first federal agency to fly the pink, white and blue striped banner at its headquarters.
The transgender flag was flown below the American flag on the flagpole in front of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, one of numerous actions taken Thursday by the administration to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility.
“Earlier today, HHS raised a transgender flag outside its headquarters building, becoming the first federal agency to do so,” the department said in a press release.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra marked the day with a statement saying that his department “will continue to do everything in our power to protect the health care of transgender people, including access to gender-affirming care.”
“On this International Transgender Day of Visibility, I say to our transgender communities: we see you, we stand with you, and we will be there for you,” Mr. Becerra said.
HHS also released three guidances to state agencies and health-care providers, including an information memorandum promoting “access to gender-affirming care,” a hot topic this year in red-state legislatures.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill Wednesday to ban gender-reassignment surgery for minors, making his state one of several to restrict procedures for those under 18.
The federal guidances also clarified that health care providers “are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender-affirming care,” and that “denials of health care based on gender identity are illegal.”
Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Rachel Levine, the first Senate-confirmed transgender federal official, also issued a statement in support of transgender youth and their families.
“The future for our community is brighter than in past generations, but even now, progress is not real unless it means progress for all,” Ms. Levine. “Together we must strongly advocate for the most underserved and marginalized in our community, including our trans youth and their families.”
Last year, the State Department flew for the first time the progress flag outside its headquarters to mark Pride Month, which is June, after the Trump administration rejected in 2019 requests to fly the rainbow pride flag on flagpoles outside U.S. embassies.
The progress flag combines the rainbow and transgender flags with black and brown stripes to represent people of color as well as victims of those living with HIV/AIDS.
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“The Progress flag is a symbol of the diversity and intersectionality of LGBTQI+ persons and communities around the world,” said the State Department in a June 24 statement.