Joe Biden: The LGBT community needs to hold Trump accountable
Joe Biden has urged the LGBT community to hold the Trump administration accountable, as he was honoured as an LGBT hero.
Barack Obama’s former Vice President Joe Biden was honoured as an LGBT hero this week, for his work on equality.
Mr Biden was a massive proponent of LGBT rights during the Obama era, backing equal marriage and anti-discrimination protections before the President and championing the issue around the world.
The former VP delivered a passionate address for more than half an hour last night at the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT equality gala.
In his speech, Mr Biden said: “Over the years, many of you have thanked me for stating the obvious. Some of you credit me with taking a political risk.
“From the bottom of my heart, there was no risk. I took no chance. I was just answering what I’ve known all my life, that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity.”
The former leader also hit back at regressive moves under the Trump administration.
There have been a series of backward steps on LGBT equality under Trump – which has seen protections for trans kids axed, the cancellation of the White House’s Pride Month celebrations, the end of federal resistance to state anti-LGBT laws, and a de-prioritisation of equal rights on the world stage.
But Vice President Biden was defiant.
He said: “In spite of this terrible period we’re going through, I’m confident we’ll prevail. Thanks to [LGBT activists], the country is way ahead of its political leadership.
“Notwithstanding who is in the White House, we can’t stop now. We can’t say, because of the team that’s there now there’s not much we can do. That’s not true.”
Referring to Trump’s infamous flag-waving pledge to LGBT people, Vice President Biden said: “The first thing we should do is hold President Trump accountable for his pledge to be your friend.
“Demonstrate that public opinion and history are on our side.
“Just because you don’t have Barack and me in the White House doesn’t mean it’s time to give up, keep quiet, stay on the sidelines.”
The leader added that there is plenty more still to achieve on equality.
He said: “We still don’t have a federal law that explicitly protects LGBT people from being fired or evicted or denied service in a restaurant. It’s barbaric to think that in America today, you can be married on Sunday and fired on Monday.
“In 28 states people can fire you for being gay, 30 states if you’re transgender.
“Transgender Americans are under attack in state legislatures from North Carolina to Texas. Some of these bills are just trying to attend school in peace and safety.
“Too many young people are rejected by their families, subjected to the vile practise of conversion therapy, or even kicked out of their homes.
“Around the world, LGBT individuals face terror and torture, from Syria and Iraq to Uganda and Tanzania. We cannot remain silent.”
The former Veep, who has repeatedly ruled out a run for President himself, has confessed to “run-ins with at least four heads of state” after challenging their LGBT rights records during official meetings.
He has even famously stepped on the toes of President Obama.
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He forced the President’s hand on same-sex marriage in May 2012, by backing it while the President was still officially ‘evolving’ on the issue.
A book later claimed that “chaos erupted inside the West Wing” after news of Biden’s comments – and within days Obama had also come out in favour of same-sex marriage.
Lightning struck again when the VP backed an executive order banning anti-LGBT workplace discrimination in 2014, when the President had already rebuffed calls for executive action.
Mr Biden got his way on that occasion as well, with Obama reversing his position again and signing an order just two months later.
Towards the end of his time in office, Mr Biden carried out a same-sex wedding in the White House for two gay staffers.
His support for LGBT rights was so strong that the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of his late son Beau Biden.
Mr Biden’s son had served as Attorney General of Delaware, and like his father was a staunch defender of LGBT rights, worked to successfully introduce non-discrimination laws in the state in 2013.