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Book bans are on the rise. Biden is naming a point person to address that

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, center, helps raise a Pride flag outside of the Department of Energy as the Biden administration celebrates Pride Month.
Drew Angerer
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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, center, helps raise a Pride flag outside of the Department of Energy as the Biden administration celebrates Pride Month.

President Biden on Thursday will announce new actions to try to address discrimination against LGBTQI+ Americans — including the appointment of a new point person at the Education Department to address an increase in book bans.

"In too many parts of our country, LGBTQ Americans are being targeted for who they are, and that, simply put, is discrimination," said Neera Tanden, Biden's domestic policy adviser, on a call with reporters.

The book ban coordinator at the Education Department will make schools aware that book bans can violate federal civil rights laws if they create a hostile environment for students, Tanden said. "Book banning erodes our democracy, removes vital resources for student learning, and can contribute to stigma and isolation," she said.

Biden will deliver remarks on the issue during a Pride Month event on Thursday evening with LGBTQI+ families on the White House South Lawn.

Other new actions being rolled out on Thursday include:

  • a community safety program from the Department of Homeland Security to work with LGBTQI+ community centers, clinics and small businesses like restaurants and bars to provide training for bomb threats, active shooters and cyber threats
  • an advisory for mental health care providers from Health and Human Services to help provide evidence-based care for transgender youth
  • regulations to protect LGBTQI+ kids in foster care and place them in safe and appropriate homes
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.