Joe Biden urges Americans to ‘speak out against hate’ as anti-LGBTQ+ attacks multiply

Mishti Ali May 17, 2022
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Joe Biden speaking at COP26 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden has marked International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) with a message of “support and solidarity”.

The president’s statement comes in the face of rising anti-LGBTQ+ hostility from legislators up and down the coutry.

Biden opened with an acknowledgement of homophobia, both historical and modern. 

“On this day in 1990, the World Health Organization took the long overdue step of declassifying ‘homosexuality’ as a mental disorder,” Biden wrote.

“Since that time, there has been much progress. But we continue to witness disturbing setbacks and rising hate and violence targeting LGBTQI+ people in the United States and around the world. This is wrong. LGBTQI+ people are entitled to all the rights, opportunities, and protections that belong to every human on this planet.

Joe Biden singled out the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeping the nation, much of which is aimed specifically at trans people.

“And make no mistake: hateful legislative attacks against members of our own LGBTQI+ community cannot be tolerated in America or anywhere else,” he wrote.

“They spur discrimination and can stoke violence. And they are rooted in the same ignorance and intolerance that we see around the world. Hate is hate — and all of us have a responsibility to speak out against hate wherever we find it.”

2022 has seen GOP lawmakers propose more than 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, some of which are still being debated in state legislatures.

Of those, at least 140 directly target trans people, according to the Human Rights Campaign

Among such attacks is Florida’s notorious ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

Signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, Ron deSantis, it bans LGBTQ+ topics from being discussed in classrooms, either by school staff or third parties, between kindergarten and third grade. After third grade, these topics must be “age appropriate”, a term which the bill fails to define. 

Already, the bill has inspired others, with a copycat version being shut down in Louisiana.

Texas is fighting an ongoing batte governor Greg Abbott, who in February ordered the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families and doctors pursuing or providing gender-affirming care for trans youth for “child abuse”.

The order was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court on May 13.


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