White House Website Now More Inclusive Thanks to Pronoun Options

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday January 21, 2021

Four years ago, LGBTQ-related material was methodically scrubbed from the White House website within hours of Donald Trump's inauguration - a sign of things to come.

In stark contrast, within hours of President Joe Biden's inauguration the White House website suddenly offered users the option of specifying their pronouns - a change that equality advocates hailed, NBC News reports.

"As part of the website revamp that occurs during presidential transitions, the White House changed its contact form," NBC News explained. "The form now allows individuals to select from the following list: she/her, he/him, they/them, other, or prefer not to share. Those who select other also have the option to write-in what pronouns they use.

"People can also choose which prefix they use: Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., Mx., other, or none."

Equality advocacy group GLAAD took to Twitter to share the news, with excited users expressing their happiness in comments to the post, NBC noted.

The newly-inaugurated president lost no time in setting other changes in motion also, issuing a flurry of executive orders aimed at restoring some of what the country had lost over the last four years.

"One of the executive orders signed by President Biden today strengthens workplace discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity," the National Center for Lesbian Rights observed in a Jan. 20 press release. "The order expands the definition of sex discrimination in federal agencies to include LGBTQ individuals."

That order was nothing less than a directive for the government to begin observing settled law, the White House website declared, citing "the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County," a case the Court decided last summer that "ensures that the federal government interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."

NCLR's Shannon Minter said in the group's release that "It is a welcome relief to have a president who respects that law and supports the right of LGBTQ individuals to be treated equally and fairly."

President Biden also issued an executive order reversing a Trump administration's directive aimed at "limiting diversity and inclusion training," Out & Equal Workplace Advocates noted in their own release.

"Thank you President Biden for reversing the ban on DEI training!" stated Out & Equal CEO Erin Uritus. "Muzzling our federal employees and contractors is a recipe for reinforcing systemic racism, bias, and discrimination. We look forward to helping build a culture of belonging."

President Biden had made the swift restoration of LGBTQ protections a campaign promise. He also vowed to work toward passage of the Equality Act within the first 100 days of his administration, though advocates now question whether that will be possible, with the Senate expected to be occupied with Donald Trump's second impeachment.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.