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Joe Biden pays heartfelt tribute to late trans hero Aimee Stephens and vows to end ‘sick’ conversion therapy

Emma Powys Maurice May 15, 2020
Joe Biden

Joe Biden livestreaming from his home on April 28, 2020 (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post/Getty)

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden has paid tribute to the late Aimee Stephens, who sadly passed away before she could receive her landmark Supreme Court ruling.

Stephens, 58, was a plaintiff in a trio of cases heard by the Supreme Court last year to determine whether LGBT+ people are protected by employment discrimination laws.

Speaking at a virtual fundraising event for his presidential campaign on Wednesday, Biden mourned Stephen’s death and shared that he was due to speak to her about the ruling when he heard the sad news.

“I was supposed to call her,” he said. “I had her picture and her bio on my desk; I was supposed to call her.

“I’m looking over at [chief of staff] Annie, I guess it was yesterday at 2 o’clock, and Annie came in… with tears in her eyes and said they passed away, passed away.”

Joe Biden tuned in from his home in Delaware for the event, which was hosted on Zoom by US senator Cory Booker. It was attended by 115 people, the Biden campaign reports.

One attendee, a mother of a transgender child, asked Biden how he would protect trans people from “unjust attacks” and discrimination.

In response, Biden said he would push Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations.

He also vowed to put an end to the discredited practise of conversion therapy, which he called “sick”.

The harmful practise is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction, but it is currently still legal in most US states.

Continuing on the subject of trans rights, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to introducing gender-neutral markers for voter registration.

“You ought to be able to just put X on sex and be able – you don’t have to explain a damn thing,” he said.

“If you’re a registered person in that place, you should be able to vote.”

More: Aimee Stephens, conversion therapy, democratic party, gender-neutral ID, joe biden

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