President Biden on Thursday said that the Republicans behind efforts that target LGBTQ Americans are “callous” and “hysterical,” while highlighting support for the community from his administration.
“Our fight is far, far from over because we have some hysterical and, I would argue, prejudice people who are engaged in all what you see going on around the country. It’s an appeal to fear and it’s an appeal that is totally, thoroughly unjustified and ugly,” Biden said in a press conference with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the White House.
Biden was asked about his support for the LGBTQ community in light of the legislation passing around the U.S. targeting LGBTQ individuals in states such as Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed bills recently to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, expand a state law that limits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity and restrict drag performances.
“These are our kids, these are our neighbors, it’s cruel and it’s callous,” Biden said. “It’s not somebody else’s kids, it’s all our kids, and our children are the kite strings that hold our national ambitions aloft. It matters a great deal how we treat everyone in this country.”
The White House was set to hold a Pride Month celebration later on Thursday but it was delayed over concerns with the air quality in Washington. The event will take place on Saturday.
Earlier on Thursday, the White House unveiled measures to counteract actions in GOP-led legislatures targeting transgender youth and other minority groups. New efforts out of the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies will provide housing support and push back on book bans that disproportionately affect LGBTQ youth.
“It’s wrong that a person can be married in the morning in the United States and fired in the afternoon by their employer because they’re gay,” Biden said in the press conference. “It’s wrong that the violence and hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people is rising. It’s wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors.”
When the reporter asked the question, she mentioned that she spoke to a parents of a transgender girl in Texas who told her they’re afraid and considering leaving not just their state but the country. Biden asked the reporter to privately give him their number so he can reach out and “let them know that the president and this administration has their back.”
The president also outlined actions out of his administration already in place, such as signing the Respect for Marriage Act and reversing a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.