Former Vice President Joe Biden voiced disapproval with the Trump Administration over its rollback of transgender rights during an impassioned speech while accepting his award from Help USA in New York City on Thursday.
Biden’s speech to accept the Help Hero Humanitarian Award from the organization that provides shelter and housing to homeless people including veterans, children, and victims of domestic violence focused great deal on safeguarding protections for women but he pointedly took aim at the Trump administration over its treatment of LGBT, specifically trans, people.
“As much great work as we’ve done, we face some real challenges ahead. We thought things were moving in the right direction,” Biden said, touching on the Trump administration’s unraveling of trans protections. “But there’s a changing landscape out there, folks, and we have a hell of a lot of work to do.”
Without mentioning Trump or the administration by name he suggested that they were wrongly focused on which bathrooms transgender children use when LGBT homeless kids face a myriad of issues.
“Instead of focusing on the fact that 40 percent of the homeless youth on the street are identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [and] rejected by their families out on the street, and what do we do about that, we’re now focusing on whether or not a transgender child, which bathroom they can use.”
Biden was referring to the Trump administration’s move last month to rescind Obama-era federal guidelines on how schools should accommodate and protect trans students, which the justice and education departments backed.
"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement at the time, according to the AP. "Schools, communities, and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students."
Despite DeVos’s assertion that students will be protected, there is currently an anti-trans bill in Texas that was approved by the Texas State Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives. The bill “would require people to use restrooms in public schools, universities and government buildings that match the ‘biological sex’ noted on their birth certificates.”
Earlier in his speech, Biden spoke of his father, a “graceful” man who instilled in him the notion that “Every single solitary person, no matter who they were, was entitled to be treated with dignity.”
Watch Biden’s full speech below.