QUEER VOICES
03/17/2017 01:34 pm ET

Joe Biden Blasts Trump Administration For Rolling Back Trans Protections

Americans "face some real challenges" ahead, Biden warned.

Count former Vice President Joe Biden among those who are frustrated by President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back federal protections for the transgender students last month. 

Accepting the HELP HERO Humanitarian Award in New York Thursday, Biden, 74, doubled down on his longstanding support of trans people in a passionate speech. Although he didn’t mention Trump by name, he nonetheless blasted the current administration for having “shift[ing] the focus” on LGBTQ issues in his speech, which was otherwise focused on domestic violence. 

“As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead. We thought things were moving in the right direction,” Biden told the crowd at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, as seen in the video above. “But there’s a changing landscape out there, folks, and we have a hell of a lot of work to do.” 

The national focus on so-called “bathroom bills” like North Carolina’s House Bill 2, Biden said, largely detracted from other, more serious issues facing the LGBTQ community, specifically trans folk. “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.” 

Later in the speech, he added, “This isn’t politics, guys. This isn’t Democrat/Republican, this is life and death. This is sanity and insanity.” 

Biden accepted the HELP HERO award from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who helped to found HELP USA, which is focused on homelessness and housing needs, nearly 30 years ago.

The former vice president’s remarks echoed sentiments he expressed in 2012, when he called transgender discrimination “the civil rights issue of our time.”

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