President Joe Biden on Thursday condemned laws in Republican-led states that seek to crack down on sex-change-related treatment for minors.
“A wave of discriminatory State laws is targeting transgender youth, terrifying families and hurting kids who are not hurting anyone,” Biden said in a proclamation to recognize the “Transgender Day of Visibility.”
The president did not cite any states in particular, but he went on to say that an “epidemic of violence against transgender women and girls, in particular women and girls of color, has taken lives far too soon.”
Biden referred to November’s deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado. “Last year’s Club Q shooting in Colorado was another painful example of this kind of violence — a stain on the conscience of our Nation,” he said.
Biden did not mention that the suspected shooter is allegedly a biological male who identifies as “non-binary” and uses the pronouns “they/them.”
“Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the joy, strength, and absolute courage of some of the bravest people I know — people who have too often had to put their jobs, relationships, and lives on the line just to be their true selves,” Biden said. “Today, we show millions of transgender and nonbinary Americans that we see them, they belong, and they should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Biden’s proclamation comes days after the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, that resulted in the deaths of three children and three faculty members.
Law enforcement who responded to the carnage killed the shooter, a woman who identified as transgender. Though investigators have yet to release a motive, police did say the shooter “targeted” the school.
In Tennessee, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation this month that bans sex-change procedures on minors in his state. “We should not allow permanent, life altering decisions that hurt children,” he tweeted in October.
Biden said his administration is working to “ensure that transgender people and the entire LGBTQI+ community can live openly and safely.” He also said there are efforts to “ease the tremendous strain that discrimination, bullying, and harassment can put on transgender children — more than half of whom seriously considered suicide in the last year.”
One example he gave is the Department of Education “helping ensure that transgender students have equal opportunities to learn and thrive at school.” Another, he added, is the Department of Justice “pushing back against extreme laws that seek to ban evidence-based gender-affirming health care.”
“There is much more to do,” Biden said in conclusion. “I continue to call on the Congress to finally pass the Equality Act and extend long-overdue civil rights protections to all LGBTQI+ Americans to ensure they can live with safety and dignity. Together, we also have to keep challenging the hundreds of hateful State laws that have been introduced across the country, making sure every child knows that they are made in the image of God, that they are loved, and that we are standing up for them.”