Former Vice President Joe Biden is no longer roaming the halls of the White House, but the lifetime politician and co-founder of The Biden Foundation still has a pivotal request of the American people in honor of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17.
In an essay for The Washington Post, Biden asks his countrymen and women to stand with the LGBT community. "My father taught me that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. It's a simple but powerful notion that lies at the heart of our identity as Americans," he begins. "It is a truth that continues to drive me today, particularly when it comes to full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
Though Biden makes no direct mention of President Trump or the current administration in his powerful request, he does acknowledge that, in spite of our advancements — the Supreme Court ruling that makes same sex marriage a nationwide right and the federal laws and policies put in place to protect LGBT people — there's still a great deal of work to be done worldwide.
"Progress doesn't happen by chance. It happens because good people come together and demand change. And any person of conscience, regardless of their religious or partisan beliefs, should be able to agree: Violence against any person, in any form, is intolerable. No one should be killed, tortured, assaulted or harassed because of who they are," Biden writes, as he details the atrocities committed against LGBT people worldwide.
The former VP calls attention to recent reports citing that authorities in Chechnya were imprisoning and torturing individuals believed to be gay or bisexual, and adds, "Uganda and Tanzania continue to be openly hostile to LGBT people, and their political leaders have used anti-American sentiment to fuel anti-LGBT hate."
"Many times, this kind of discrimination, harassment and violence is justified in the name of 'culture.' This offensive argument ignores the fundamental truth that LGBT rights are human rights," Biden continues, echoing a similar statement made famous by Hillary Clinton in 1995. "Prejudice is prejudice; inhumanity is inhumanity. Using religion or culture to license discrimination and demonizing LGBT individuals to score political points are no more justifiable around the world than they are here at home."
As we mentioned, Biden makes no mention of the current administration, but he is clearly intimating that any form of discrimination against the LGBT community is wrong and should not be tolerated. The current administration has been accused of such discrimination because of its decision to roll back Obama-era federal protections for transgender students and the recent religious liberty executive order, which has drawn ire from LGBT groups.
Even though he's seemingly ruled out a future presidential run, Biden, who has also strongly spoken out against sexual assault, has every intention to continue fighting for equality for all. "For my part, I will continue to speak out for the full equality of all people," he explains. "The Biden Foundation has prioritized promoting LGBT equality and will use its resources to convene networks and catalyze action on issues ranging from transgender equality to LGBT youths to global human rights.
"Together, we will work to defend and advance the human rights of all people, and we will not rest until equality, at home and around the world, is fully realized. Until then, to all those suffering discrimination and violence simply because of who they are or whom they love, know this: The American people are on your side."
To learn more about how you can protect the LGBT community via The Biden Foundation, click here.
Cover image via Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm.