In his first joint address to Congress,
President Joe Biden called for passage of the Equality Act and called
transgender youth “so brave.”
Biden, who has previously endorsed the
Equality Act, a federal LGBT protections bill, used Wednesday's
speech to call on Congress to get the bill to his desk.
“I also hope Congress can get to my
desk the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans,” he said to a
round of applause.
“To all the transgender Americans
watching at home – especially the young people who are so brave –
I want you to know that your president has your back,” Biden said.
Biden's shout-out to the transgender
community comes as state GOP lawmakers continue an unprecedented
attack on their rights, with hundreds of anti-LGBT bills introduced
this legislative session.
One of the First Lady's special guests
was Stella Keating, a transgender teenager who testified last month
during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act.
Freedom for All Americans, which
campaigns for LGBT protections, called on Congress to follow Biden's
“President Biden’s endorsement of
the Equality Act in his first presidential address is a historic
milestone and the latest indicator of the momentum LGBTQ advocates
and allies have built to pass this landmark legislation over the past
50 years,” Freedom for All Americans CEO Kasey Suffredini said in a
statement. “President Biden has long been a passionate supporter of
LGBTQ rights, even when other elected officials avoided taking a
stance. The truth is millions of LGBTQ Americans and their loved ones
are still vulnerable to discrimination in most of the U.S. because of
an unsustainable patchwork of varying protections in different
states. We urge members of Congress to follow the President’s
leadership, listen to the hopes and dreams of the LGBTQ community,
and vote with their hearts to pass the Equality Act as soon as
possible. Treating all people fairly is not a Democratic or a
Republican value – it’s an American value, and it will move our
country closer to our ideals of liberty and justice for all.”
The Equality Act cleared the House
earlier this year but faces a steep incline in the Senate.
than 400 US companies call for passage of federal LGBT protections