Joe Biden Calls Transphobic Violence ‘Epidemic That Needs National Leadership’

Joe Biden promised on Friday that, if elected, he will work to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community, expand economic opportunities, and reform how the criminal justice system treats transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

In a statement released to the media, the Democratic presidential nominee said violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people is an “epidemic that needs national leadership” and cited 33 violent deaths in the community this year.

“This is the highest number on record with more than two months left in the year, and the vast majority are Black and Brown transgender women,” the statement read. “It’s unacceptable.”

The former vice president said those deaths “didn’t happen in a vacuum,” and blamed Trump administration actions such as banning transgender people from serving in the military, limiting access to health care and eliminating the word “transgender” from government websites. Biden said such policies “have fueled the flames of transphobia in our nation.”

The complete statement appears below.    

A spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality hadn’t seen Friday’s tweet, but said the group endorsed Biden earlier in the year because of his strong support of transgender rights and the LGBTQ community.

“He has a comprehensive plan for great equality,” the spokesperson told HuffPost.

It appears Biden’s statement is an addendum to an exchange he had with a voter during his ABC town hall event on Thursday.

After the mother of a transgender daughter asked Biden how he would protect LGBTQ rights if he is elected president, he said he would just “flat-out change the law,” according to CBS News.

That would mean eliminating the Trump administration’s anti-trans executive orders and explicitly making sexual orientation and gender identity legally protected categories, according to Vox.

“There is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your daughter,” Biden told the woman. “I would eliminate [Mr. Trump’s] executive orders, number one.” 

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