Joe Biden teams up with YMCA for LGBT inclusion campaign
Former vice-president Joe Biden has teamed up with the YMCA in America for a three-year LGBT inclusion programme.
The initiative, which aims to support LGBT people and their families, will be tested at a few YMCA locations before it is rolled out across branches nationwide.
According to the YMCA of the USA, often simply referred to as the Y, the effort is “part of the Y’s longstanding commitment to engage and serve all segments of society, build bridges between communities and advance social inclusion and equity for all.”
The organisation said that the three-year drive could include special programmes for LGBT youth, staff training, and best practice guidance.
The Biden Foundation, which works to put into practice Biden’s vision to ensure rights and opportunities for all people, will work in collaboration with the YMCA of the USA to set up the initiative.
Biden, an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, is co-chair of the foundation.
Kevin Washington, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA, said: “The Y is committed to addressing critical social issues and helping all people reach their full potential with dignity and respect.
“Our commitment is rooted in our inclusive mission and our belief that communities are stronger when everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
“Supporting the well-being and safety of LGBTQ youth and adults is an important need in our communities.”
The new campaign is being funded by the Gill Foundation and the David Bohnett Foundation.
Louisa Terrell, executive director of the Biden Foundation, said: “The Biden Foundation is committed to changing our culture so that everyone, including LGBTQ people, feel supported and affirmed.”
There is currently no federal law in the US that explicitly protects LGBT people from discrimination at work, in housing or in healthcare.
The YMCA of the USA said that “significant challenges” remain for LGBT people in America, and that LGBT young people in particular “struggle with family rejection, bullying in the classroom, and harassment in their communities.”
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The YMCA, founded in 1844, is a worldwide organisation that aims to implement Christian principles through the development of a healthy “body, mind, and spirit.”
The Y in America works to bring about “lasting personal and social change,” and ensures that everyone can participates in its programmes “regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation.”
Aims of the Biden Foundation include to achieving LGBT equality and ending violence against women.
Biden has previously officiated two same-sex marriages, and has heavily criticised Trump over his anti-trans policies.