Biden: Should be “zero discrimination” against transgender people

The mother of a transgender daughter asked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden asked how he would protect LBTQ rights if he is elected president – and Biden said he would just “flat-out change the law.” Biden took questions at a televised town hall on Thursday, held opposite one with President Trump on a separate network after the second presidential debate was canceled. 

“The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscriminatory protections and even removing the word ‘transgender’ from some government websites,” Mieke Haeck said to Biden at ABC’s town hall. “How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S?”

“I would just flat-out change the law,” Biden said. “I would eliminated [Mr. Trump’s] executive orders, number one.” 

He then recalled a moment from his childhood, when he was getting out of his dad’s car and saw two men hug and kiss each other. “I turn to my dad and my dad says, ‘Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.'” 

Election 2020 Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden looks up as he participates in a town hall with moderator ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Carolyn Kaster / AP

“The idea that an eight-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides you know, I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It’d make my life a lot easier. There should be zero discrimination,” he continued. 

“And what’s happening is too many transgender women of color are being murdered. They’re being murdered,” he said.

The former vice president then said he promises there is no reason to Haeck’s daughter should be denied any rights. 

Some Twitter users pointed out that Biden was incorrect in saying a transgender child “decides” to be trans. However, others commended the candidate on his answer and for bring up the murders of transgender women, which has surged this year, according to Trans Equality.

“My youngest came out in April as a transgender girl & my blood freezes daily at the thought of four more years of hatred & discrimination from the POTUS. I cried through #BidenTownHall answer with relief & hope. Please help protect my child,” one Twitter user wrote. 

“Having a trans child myself, I thought the same thing. Biden gives us hope,” another replied.

“Didn’t love all the language Biden used while answering the Q from the mom of a trans kid, but watching a presidential candidate acknowledge the humanity of trans adults and kids (and the epidemic of murders of trans [women of color]) made me tear up,” another person tweeted.

“I was actually really happy to see Biden’s support for trans folk tonight, even if his wording wasn’t perfect it’s clear he wants us protected and I appreciate that,” wrote another Twitter user. 

Biden has long supported LGBTQ issues, backing same-sex marriage in 2012, even before former President Obama. He also voted for an amendment to strike Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which was introduced as a compromise to allow gay people to serve in the military, in the 1990s, and has a long history of supporting benefits for same-sex couples.

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