Obama-era Vice President Joe Biden took to the stage to voice his disapproval of Trump administration rollbacks on the rights of transgender students.
The commentary by Biden was incorporated into his acceptance speech for an award he received in New York. Biden was invited to the event to honor his accomplishments in furthering humanitarian concerns. The Help Hero Humanitarian Award is meant to celebrate the accomplishments of men and women who have made large advances to help the homeless. But Biden’s speech focused specifically on criticizing the Trump administration’s attitude towards transgender people, especially youth:
‘As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead. We thought things were moving in the right direction. But there’s a changing landscape out there, folks, and we have a hell of a lot of work to do.’
Though Biden did not mention the president or his staff by name, he strongly suggested that the men and women in charge would do well to focus on the safety and security of some of the most vulnerable members of society, rather than which bathrooms they should use.
‘Instead of focusing on the fact that 40 percent of the homeless youth on the street are identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [and] rejected by their families out on the street, and what do we do about that, we’re now focusing on whether or not a transgender child, which bathroom they can use.’
This last quote was a reference to the current administration’s decision to end federal guidelines on the way public schools should assist trans children. The guidelines were put in place by Obama and backed by the Departments of Justice and Education. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, contrarily, went on record saying that she believes transgender protections should be a local issue:
‘This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.’
Although DeVos seems to believe that protections for transgender students will not evaporate as some critics of the Trump administration have feared, the evidence doesn’t particularly bear that out. In Texas, an anti-trans bill was approved by the state Senate and will next go to the House of Representatives. The bill’s purpose is to “require people to use restrooms in public schools, universities and government buildings that match the ‘biological sex’ noted on their birth certificates.”
Watch Mr. Biden’s full speech below:
Feature Image screencapture via YouTube.