16 thoughts on “Biden: “Transgender discrimination is the civil rights issue of our time”

  1. Obviously, it depends on the circumstances. Could at the least be inappropriate, even harassing (say, I make the comment to a student during a conference in my office). I have no opinion on the ickiness of this case.

    The trans comment was amazing for a sitting VP to say. I’m not quite sure about the “of our times”, as it gives the impression that other civil rights issues are largely taken care of. But good to hear nonetheless.

  2. I agree it depends on context, but if this is someone he just met at a political event, which is what it seemed like to me in the article, then it is hard to imagine how it could be appropriate. The article says “Biden was meeting with volunteers at an Obama for America office in Sarasota, Fla., when he singled out one woman ‘who he thought had beautiful eyes.'” Sorry but the language of ‘singling out’ creeps me out here. I am glad he came out strongly in favor of the civil rights of trans folks but I worry it was said part of some icky and inappropriate flirtation (which might account for the implied hyperbole that ajkreider points out).

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    Why do you think it is inappropriate (or icky) to comment on a woman’s beautiful eyes at a political event? Would it be inappropriate to compliment a woman on her shoes at a political event? What about her car? I’m genuinely curious as to why you find it hard to imagine that the first case could be appropriate, and whether the others are also hard to imagine as appropriate.

  4. This is a momentous thing: the VP just spoke out for transgender rights. Let’s keep the focus on that ok?

  5. As most people here know, Biden has long been a friend of the glbt community, but it is still a remarkable statement. Like others, I wish he hadn’t implied a comparison with other civil rights issues.

    I suspect that an AFrican American might be pissed that a privileged white guy is declaring what’s the flavor issue of the day

  6. This is an important statement for a Vice President of the U.S. to make. It’s especially important in light of the complete lack of traction transgender issues have gotten at the federal level in terms of legislation. More than one bill has been held up in Congress because it included language on gender identity/presentation.

    The comparison is certainly insensitive out of context. But in context, Biden is quite right (though better phrasing would have helped). Transgender issues are the next issues to be included in legislation. It’s the major set of issues that are currently shunned by Congress.

  7. I fully agree that there’s always a problem with saying something is THE civil rights issue of our time, when there are manifestly so many. I toyed with noting that when I put the post up. But then I thought, no: what matters is that he’s speaking out for trans rights. It’s awesome, and I’m not going to nitpick.

  8. I think it is awesome, and I don’t criticize your choice. But I think there probably are perspectives from which minding is not nitpicking.

  9. Yes, it’s not marriage equality or still-persistent racism or the war on drugs or the war on the poor or the war on women. It’s definitely this.

  10. @A

    Word of advice: if you absolutely feel that it is necessary to judge and compare the relative merits of various GLBTQQI(ETC) activisms, please refrain from being stupid enough to compare murder to “marriage equality” AND THEN JUDGE MARRIAGE EQUALITY TO BE THE MORE IMPORTANT ISSUE. It is embarrassing enough that activism in the USA is completely centered around same-sex marriage (for middle-class people) without pointing out that this narrative completely erases those PEOPLE WHO ARE MURDERED for being gay, trans* or intersexed without you coming around and explicitly stating that you prefer this state of affairs.

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