Former President Barack Obama might have won support from much of the LGBTQ community during his first political campaign, but it was Vice President Joe Biden who famously forced Obama’s hand on the issue of gay marriage months ahead of his second election. Biden going rogue is what supposedly motivated Obama to declare support for gay marriage in May 2012—three days after Biden made his own announcement. Since then, Biden has remained vocal on the issue, especially when it comes to transgender equality, which he declares “the civil rights issue of our time.”
Now, in his latest op-ed, published by The Washington Post to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Biden continues to be an LGBT ally, passionately addressing the continued march toward equality.
“My father taught me that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Biden writes. “It’s a simple but powerful notion that lies at the heart of our identity as Americans. It is a truth that continues to drive me today, particularly when it comes to full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Biden, who will accept the inaugural LGBT Hero Award at the Democratic National Committee’s annual LGBT Gala next month, explains how far Americans have come in terms of acceptance over the past decade—a pat on the back, admittedly, but a deserved one—while highlighting that LGBTQ individuals are still suffering in Syria, Iraq, Russia and Chechnya and facing unimaginable bouts of terror and torture.
He urges all of us to use whatever influence we have to spread the word. “Progress doesn’t happen by chance,” he writes. “It happens because good people come together and demand change. No one should be killed, tortured, assaulted or harassed because of who they are.” In Biden’s opinion, change happens when “fair-minded individuals stand up to hate, before detailing his own plans. For my part, I will continue to speak out for the full equality of all people.”
In closing, he writes, “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.” Read the full piece here.