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President Biden addresses the trans community: 'I see you, I hear you, and I’ll continue fighting'

President Biden celebrated the Transgender Day of Visibility by issuing the first-ever presidential proclamation of its kind in recognition of the day.

President Biden addresses the trans community: 'I see you, I hear you, and I’ll continue fighting'
Cover Image Source: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the State Dining Room of the White House on April 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden marked the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31 by issuing a presidential proclamation in recognition of the day. According to the proclamation—which is the first of its kind—the "Transgender Day of Visibility recognizes the generations of struggle, activism, and courage that have brought our country closer to full equality for transgender and gender non-binary people in the United States and around the world." The President noted in the proclamation that the trailblazing work of trans rights activists "has given countless transgender individuals the bravery to live openly and authentically."



 

 

"This hard-fought progress is also shaping an increasingly accepting world in which peers at school, teammates and coaches on the playing field, colleagues at work, and allies in every corner of society are standing in support and solidarity with the transgender community," Biden added. However, he noted that despite progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ Americans, "many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality," such as higher rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Nearly 1 in 3 trans people have experienced homelessness, Biden wrote, adding that "Transgender Americans continue to face discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and public accommodations."



 

 

"The crisis of violence against transgender women, especially transgender women of color, is a stain on our Nation’s conscience," the president stated. According to research by the Human Rights Campaign, at least 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the United States last year, of which 23 were Black trans women. "The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to fulfilling the promise of America for all Americans by stamping out discrimination and delivering freedom and equality for all," Biden said, citing the executive order he issued on the first day of his presidency to expand discrimination protections for LGBTQ people under federal laws such as the Affordable Housing Act.



 

 

The president called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act—a bill recently passed by the House that would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity—and "provide long-overdue Federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity." "The Equality Act will deliver legal protections for LGBTQ+ Americans in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems.  It will serve as a lasting legacy to the bravery and fortitude of the LGBTQ+ movement," he wrote.



 

 

Biden concluded the proclamation by affirming "that transgender Americans make our Nation more prosperous, vibrant, and strong" and urging "fellow Americans to join us in uplifting the worth and dignity of every transgender person." The president echoed these sentiments while addressing the transgender community in a virtual speech at this year’s National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Trans Equality Now Awards last week. "I want every trans person, especially every trans young person out there, to know I see you, I hear you, and I’ll continue fighting for an America that transgender people, like everyone else, can live in and thrive in and succeed," he said.



 

 

According to Rachel Crandall Crocker, a Michigan-based transgender activist and founder of TDOV, Biden is the first US president to issue such a proclamation. Speaking to CNN, Crocker said that the presidential proclamation provides the "ultimate" mark of legitimacy to the day. "It's a huge step and it's a huge, huge statement. He could not have picked a better way of showing us support," she said.

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