People of faith should support transgender equality, says former Vice President Joe Biden, still the front-runner in many polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Biden is the latest presidential hopeful to sit down for an interview with Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality and its political action arm, the NCTE Action Fund. The Action Fund is posting a series of candidate interviews online in its Transform the White House project.
In his interview, posted this week, Biden said people of faith, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any other religion, should recognize trans people’s right to their identity and to equal treatment under the law.
“The Lord said, ‘What you’re doing to the least of my children, you’re doing to me,’” Biden said. “We’re all God’s children. Who is to judge you, whether or not you’re lesbian, gay, or trans? Who is to make that judgment, especially if it’s done from your heart? The idea that someone can tell you that you can’t be who you are in your heart and your soul is just wrong. That’s the sin. The sin is not being LGBTQ. The sin is not allowing you to be who you are in your heart.”
Biden said that if elected president, “I promise you I’ll protect every single right.” He also vowed to expand health care under the Affordable Care Act.
He said he learned a great deal about trans issues when Sarah McBride, a trans woman who has gone on to be national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, and worked for his son Beau when the younger Biden was attorney general of Delaware. Beau Biden and McBride advocated for Delaware’s Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act, which became law in 2013. McBride is now running for the Delaware State Senate.
Additionally, Joe Biden excoriated Donald Trump for rolling back polices meant to protect trans people and others from discrimination. “He’s eviscerated so many basic civil rights,” the former vice president said. Asked by Keisling what he thinks Trump’s motivation is, Biden said he isn’t sure, but it may be simply that he thinks it’s politically expedient to appeal to white supremacists and anti-LGBTQ people. In any case, what Trump’s anti-equality moves are “wrong for who we are as a people,” Biden said.
Other candidates who have been featured in the interview series so far are U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (who talked about having a nonbinary relative), Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Kirsten Gillibrand (who has since dropped out of the race) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Watch Biden’s interview below, and find the others here.