Biden: Transgender discrimination is the “civil rights issue of our time”

I want to point this out for a number of reasons. First, it’s important to all people whom the issue affects, not just the individuals, but their family members, loved ones, friends and associates. It’s not just about the transgendered, or the LGBT community as a whole, but the world around them as well. Anyone who cares about anyone in this community is affected by these issues. That’s a whole lot of people.

Second, it’s important to identify the real differences between Republicans and Democrats, who as Joe Biden shows, are polar opposites on identity issues. You can argue their relative sameness on economic issues — lord knows I’ve been doing that — but on identity issues it’s trogs and eloi without much doubt.

Allyson Robinson SLDN ED

Allyson Robinson, new
executive director of OutServe-SLDN, and transgender

And third, I think Biden is right. This is a world-historical turning point, just as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s (broadly considered) was a world-historical turning point. It did not solve all race problems, but it made race a bridge too far. And 50 years later, race is still a bridge too far — it’s race that’s peeling corporate support from ALEC (click to see why). Good to see this corner turned for members of the LGBT community, and about time too.

That’s said, here’s Biden via the Huffington Post (thanks to the email correspondent who alerted me; my emphasis and some reparagraphing):

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.

There’s more in the article, including other statements of LGBT support from Biden. Note the comment by Obama that Biden “got out a little bit over his skis” with his public remarks last May, just shortly ahead of Obama’s own “evolution.” Was Biden pushing the president at the time? Analysis of that dynamic was mixed when it occurred, but in retrospect — and in the context of other comments by the vice-president — this may well have been his intention.

Either way, good call on the historical importance, and a welcome and needed statement of support.

GP

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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • http://twitter.com/StrengthNNumb3r strengthnnumbers

    I feel that there is a fear of “the effeminate”, be it females, transgender women, or gay men. The stereotype still exists that gay men are “like women”, and are therefore weaker, incapable of being good fathers with their partner (stereotype that a son wouldn’t have a ‘real’ father). It is a huge issue that straight men are still fearful of being considered too emotional or feminine. They call each other the p word, f word or c word or “bitch”…These words all are code words to being gay or like a woman. The root is definitely a fear of the feminine..Rush Limbaugh recently mentioned Christie and Obama’s recent partnership as “man-love”. Perfect example of dog-whistle politics. He is trying to portray these men as effeminate and therefore, not effective as leaders.

  • Butch1

    The president is either too afraid to be a leader for civil rights causes like Biden or he’s too lazy to take up the cause. Perhaps if he had been exposed to real prejudice like other blacks that had been raised in the South and had to fight for his civil rights or watched his family struggle and fight for theirs during the 1960s during the riots he would have a better appreciation of just how hard the struggle was for people of color fighting for every single right they won. Perhaps he would then understand our own struggle trying to win our equal rights and how he and others do not seem to be very interested in helping us. He thinks we need to fight at the state level for our rights but we know that this is a civil rights matter and this should be taken care of at the national level so that it is decided once and for all where ALL of the states have to abide by the same law and where we will be treated equally in ALL of the states. Obama doesn’t think we are that equal under the law apparently. Biden does and he understands this. Obama was raised by his white grandparents and never suffered under Jim Crow. If he did he would have empathy for us.

  • Naja pallida

    As much as I believe there can be no equivocation on equality, we still haven’t actually dealt with the basic issues of gender discrimination. As much as we like to claim women are equal in our society, half the country doesn’t even believe they should be permitted to make their own medical decisions. A good chunk do not believe they should be paid equally for equal work. How can we even begin to translate those archaic mental processes to addressing transgender discrimination?

    A discrimination-free society is the civil rights issue of our time. Regardless of which criteria you want to use as a basis for your bigotry, it is unacceptable.

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