Biden to transgender youth: 'I will always have your back'

·2 min read

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Biden told the nation’s transgender youth that he will fight to protect them amid bills in several Republican-led states aimed at stripping away their rights.

“The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong,” Biden said. “To our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your president, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”

Trans rights have been under assault across the country, with 21 states introducing anti-trans legislation last year. In Texas, top Republican officials have made it illegal for parents to seek gender-affirming care for their trans children just before the state’s primary elections were held. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday attempting to block the law from being enacted, the ACLU alleged that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was investigating the parents of a 16-year-old trans daughter who is undergoing a transition.

“No family should have to fear being torn apart because they are supporting their trans child,” Adri Pérez, a strategist at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement. “A week before an election, Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a partisan political attack that isn’t rooted in the needs of families, the evidence from doctors and the expertise from child welfare professionals.”

President Biden gestures emphatically to make his point at his first State of the Union address.
President Biden delivers his first State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

Books discussing transgender issues have also become a target of conservative groups attempting to purge them from libraries and curricula. The White House responded specifically to a proposed law in Florida that would ban the discussion of gender and sexuality in the state’s schools.

“Every parent, as one myself too, hopes that our leaders will ensure their children's safety, protection and freedom, and today conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the Feb. 8 briefing.

“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” Biden tweeted shortly after the briefing.

Last year, the Biden administration said it would protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in health care — a reversal of Trump-era policies that sought to limit transgender rights.