During Thursday night’s dueling televised town halls for the presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden had a moment that cut through the noise for many parents of LGBTQ children. When the Democratic candidate addressed the mother of a transgender child, his (sometimes awkward) words held a promise of equality and freedom that many have felt under threat during the current administration.
“I’m the proud mom of two girls, 8 and 10,” Mieke Haeck said on the ABC News special. “My youngest daughter is transgender. The Trump administration has attacked the rights of transgender people, banning them from military service, weakening nondiscriminatory protections, and even removing the word ‘transgender’ from some government websites.”
Those are just a few of the ways Trump has moved this country backwards on LGBTQ rights. The Center for Transgender Equality has a frightening timeline of the ways Trump has chipped away at trans rights through executive orders, as well as through his Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice. Just to name one horrifying example, the DOE has declared that transgender children should not be allowed to join school sports teams. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen teaches at a school that actively bans LGBTQ parents and students. It’s no wonder Haeck is concerned for her daughter.
“How will you as president reverse this dangerous and discriminatory agenda and ensure that the lives and rights of LGBTQ people are protected under U.S. law?” she asked.
“I would flat-out just change the law, eliminate those executive orders, number one,” Biden said without missing a beat.
Biden was an early advocate for marriage equality (by politician standards, anyway), and during the town hall, he recounted how his father taught him that love is love..
“The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, ‘I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It’d make my life a lot easier’ — there should be zero discrimination,” he said. Some have interpreted that quote to be a statement that he things gender identity is a choice, but it seems like it was simply him saying that thinking it’s a choice doesn’t make any logical sense, when life is still so difficult for transgender children and adults.
And while Biden got the number wrong on how many transgender and nonbinary people of color have been murdered in 2020, he got his message across that this is unacceptable.
“There is no reason to suggest that there should be any right denied your [trans] daughter that your other daughter has a right to be and do,” Biden said. “None, zero.”
Yeah, he’s not always the smoothest of talkers, but his point is the right one.
Some other parents of transgender kids were happy to see this happen on a national stage.
Thank you for saying my trans child deserves the same rights as everyone else. I was already voting for you but now my vote has more meaning behind it. I haven't felt this good since President Obama was in office. Thank you for giving me so much hope for a better tomorrow.
— 🌊 Amy 🌊 (@AmyT42107) October 16, 2020
Hearing Joe Biden say that my trans child deserves the same rights as everyone else meant more than me to me than a lot of parents will ever understand. Thank you @joebiden for giving me hope that my son can have the future he deserves.
— 🏳️🌈NastyMommaDragon ❄️🌊🧷🗳🏖🗽 (@mommadragon4) October 16, 2020
“Hearing Joe Biden say that my trans child deserves the same rights as everyone else meant more than me to me than a lot of parents will ever understand,” NastyMommaDragon wrote. “Thank you @joebiden for giving me hope that my son can have the future he deserves.”
While we’re feeling hopeful for the future of LGBTQ rights, let’s enjoy reading about these celebrity parents.