This Week in Trans News: Joe Biden Shows His Support

But he stumbled along the way

Katelyn Burns

--

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Transgender rights have yet to emerge as a major campaign focus in the presidential election, despite rumors that a large faction of conservatives wanted to use the issue to attack Democrats, according to an August POLITICO report. But after months of silence on the issue, trans rights finally received a bit of primetime spotlight.

At a presidential town hall hosted by ABC News last Thursday, a mom of a transgender girl asked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden what steps he would take to reverse the Trump administration’s attacks on trans rights. Biden’s response was immediate and forceful.

“Flat out just change the law,” Biden said. “There should be zero discrimination.”

How the next administration will treat — and prioritize — trans issues is a key concern for the approximately 1.6 million trans adults and 700,000 trans minors in the US, especially given the last three and a half years of rollbacks from the Trump administration.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has revoked an Obama-era guidance instructing schools how to best treat trans students, banned trans people from military service, reversed health care non-discrimination protections for trans people, and proposed a rule to allow homeless shelters to discriminate against trans people, among many other policies.

Biden had previously called trans rights the “civil rights issue of our time” after North Carolina passed HB2, the 2016 “bathroom bill” that banned trans people from using whichever facilities they choose.

But the longer version of Biden’s answer was more fumbled than it needed to be. He went on to tell a story about seeing two men kiss each other when he was a kid and how his father explained that they just loved each other. But he also mentioned a “man who changed to a woman” who used to work for his son, Beau Biden, on his campaign for Delaware state attorney general.

--

--

Katelyn Burns

Political journalist. The first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in US history. Writing about more than just trans issues. Follow her on Twitter @transscribe