The Biden administration has taken a huge step toward increased inclusivity by announcing that an American Sign Language interpreter will now appear at all White House press briefings.
The announcement was made on Monday (January 25) by Jen Psaki, CNN reports.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announces an American Sign Language interpreter will now be present for daily briefings:— The Recount (@therecount) January 25, 2021
“The president is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible …” pic.twitter.com/PY4tW9vtg7
"As a part of this administration's accessibility and inclusion efforts, starting today we will have an ASL, an American Sign Language interpreter for our daily press briefings," Psaki said at Monday's briefing.
"The President is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American, including Americans with disabilities and their families."
The first interpreter went on to appear at the event; identified only as Heather, she signed at the bottom of the screen as Psaki spoke.
This is a step away from the previous administration, which was sued in August by the National Association of the Deaf and five deaf Americans for failing to provide ASL interpreters at Covid-19 briefings.
It is not the only step that the Biden administration has immediately taken toward increased representation, either, and it has also reversed the Trump administration's transgender military ban.
The White House said Biden's order "sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve."
"President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service and that America's strength is found in its diversity," the White House said.
Biden's order "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges, and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances relating to gender identity," the White House said.
Under the order, military records affected by Trump's ban will be immediately corrected.
Biden's decision to reverse the ban has already been praised by human rights groups, NBC News reports.
"Today, those who believe in fact-based public policy and a strong, smart national defense have reason to be proud. The Biden administration has made good on its pledge to put military readiness above political expediency by restoring inclusive policy for transgender troops," said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a nonpartisan organization that studies LGBTQ military issues. "The ban will now be replaced with a single standard for everyone that, as in the successful previous policy, will apply equally to all service members."
"President Biden's reversal of the Transgender Military Ban is a huge step towards full equality for the LGBTQ community and serves to make us stronger as a nation," Erin Uritus, the CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, an LGBTQ+ workplace equality advocacy organization, said.