Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, alongside Admiral Rachel L. Levine, M.D., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, held a virtual roundtable with LGBTQI+ students and families from Florida, hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Throughout the roundtable, Secretary Cardona and Admiral Levine affirmed the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for the LGBTQI+ community, shared mental health resources available from the federal government, and heard from students and families about the impact recent anti-LGBTQ legislation has on their communities and school experiences.
“The Department and the Biden-Harris Administration stands with LGBTQI+ students and families in Florida and across the country. Laws around the country, including in Florida, have targeted and sought to bully some of our most vulnerable students and families, and create division in our schools,” said Secretary Cardona. “My message to you is that this Administration won’t stand for bullying or discrimination of any kind, and we will use our authorities to protect, support, and provide opportunities for LGBTQI+ students and all students.”
“We need to support LGBTQI+ youth, their parents and families to help them achieve the good health and quality care they deserve,” said Admiral Levine. “Our communities have a champion in President Biden. The President supports equality and works to ensure everyone is represented. And that gives people a voice, a chance to effect change, to help people understand the diverse needs of our nation.”
One by one, the students and families shared some of the concerns and fears they are facing as the threat of these bills becomes more apparent and resources that local, state, and federal leaders can provide to support the LGBTQI+ community and students across the country.
Shortly after the Florida Legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, Secretary Cardona criticized leaders in Florida for prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need.