Joe Biden calls upon all Americans to join the fight for trans rights, becoming first president to mark Trans Day of Visibility

Joe Biden gender neutral passports

Joe Biden made history by becoming the first sitting US president to formally mark International Trans Day of Visibility on Wednesday (31 March).

Amid a wave of anti-trans bills being bulldozed through Republican-run legislatures, Joe Biden sent out a presidential proclamation that “honoured and celebrated the achievements and resiliency of transgender individuals and communities”.

In filing the proclamation, typically issued to comment on public policy, Biden formally recognised 31 March as International Trans Day of Visibility and underlined the importance of passing the Equality Act. America, he said, must support this “hard-fought progress”.

“I, Joseph R Biden, president of the United States of America […] do hereby proclaim 31 March 2021 as Transgender Day of Visibility,” he wrote.

“I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people.”

Joe Biden applauds ‘barrier-breaking’ trans people in historic proclamation

“Their trailblazing work has given countless transgender individuals the bravery to live openly and authentically,” Joe Biden wrote in the statement.

“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.

“In spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality.”

Joe Biden echoed the message of healing and unity he cheered throughout his presidential bid in his message, before doubling down on one of his key campaign promises – passing the Equality Act within 100 days in office.

“To more fully protect the civil rights of transgender Americans, we must pass the Equality Act and provide long-overdue Federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Biden stressed.

The House barely passed the bill almost entirely along party lines last month. If passed by the Senate, it would extend civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

From “barrier-breaking public servants”, such as Rachel Levine, the first Senate-confirmed federal official, to trans troops soon be able to serve once more as the Biden administration dismantles Trump’s ban, Biden reflected on the trans Americans that “make our nation more prosperous, vibrant and strong”.

Rachel Levine testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Rachel Levine testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.(Caroline Brehman-Pool/Getty Images)

“I call upon all Americans to join in the fight for full equality for all transgender people,” Joe Biden concluded.

He also emphatically reaffirmed what he so often said during his 2020 campaign, tweeting that: “Transgender rights are human rights.

“I’m calling on every American to join me in uplifting the worth and dignity of transgender Americans.

“Together, we can stamp out discrimination and deliver on our nation’s promise of freedom and equality for all.”

His message quickly earned plaudits among both national and state LGBT+ advocacy groups as well as White House staffers, all likely relieved to finally have a president who explicitly supports the queer community.

Republicans lawmakers have tried – and succeeded – in recent weeks in further restricting what healthcare options are available to trans youth as well as what sports they can play, if any, at middle and high school.

It also comes at a time where the US has witnessed a terrifying rise in transphobic homicides that has left LGBT+ activists deeply concerned and vigilant.