WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden said transgender discrimination is "the civil rights issue of our time" during a visit to a Florida field office on Tuesday, according to pool reports.

Biden was meeting with volunteers at an Obama for America office in Sarasota, Fla., when he singled out one woman "who he thought had beautiful eyes," reads the pool report. The woman said something to Biden that was inaudible to the pool reporter, but Biden responded to her by saying it was the "civil rights issue of our time."

The woman, Linda Carragher Bourne of Sarasota, later said her daughter was Miss Trans New England and that she had asked Biden if he would help them.

"A lot of my friends are being killed, and they don't have the civil rights yet. These guys are gonna make it happen," Bourne told the reporter.

The vice president has been a steadfast ally to the LGBT community. He told gay rights advocates in August that they are "freeing the soul of the American people." Most notably, however, he got out in front of President Barack Obama in May when he unexpectedly announced that he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriage. Obama, at the time, was still "evolving" on the issue.

Four days later, the president endorsed same-sex marriage. When he made his announcement, Obama noted that Biden "probably got out a little bit over his skis, but out of generosity of spirit."

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