President Biden on Thursday railed against who he called “hysterical” and “prejudiced” lawmakers enacting laws across the country banning gender transition surgeries for children.
Biden made the comments during an appearance at a joint press conference with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, after being asked by a reporter about the laws being enacted to protect minors, or their parents, from making irreversible changes to their bodies.
“As president, I was proud to end the band on transgender troops in our military, signed the Respect for Marriage Act, strengthen the civil rights protections for all LGBT Americans and advance LGBT human rights around the globe,” Biden said.
“But our fight is far, far from over because we have some hysterical and, I would argue, prejudiced people who are engaged in all that 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,” he said.
He went on to call the bills “hateful,” and claimed they were “targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors.”
Biden then repeated the trope often used by Democrats to describe children as collectively belonging to the nation, rather than their parents.
“These are our kids. These are our neighbors. It’s cruel and it’s callous. It’s not somebody else’s kids, they’re all our kids. Our children are the kite strings that hold our national ambitions aloft. It matters a great deal how we treat everyone in this country,” he said.
He added that he planned to announce new initiatives at a “Pride Day” event that was postponed due to the air quality in D.C. being negatively impacted by the smoke from the ongoing Canadian wildfires.
Those initiatives, Biden said, included strengthening “the physical safety, the dedicated resources, the federal coordination to better protect pride celebrations, marches, community centers, health care providers and small businesses.”
He said his administration would also be addressing what he called “civil rights violations,” such as “book bans” that he claimed “make it harder for kids to learn.”
“We’re also engaging in mental health and other support – more mental health resources and funding to help families support their kids, new efforts to protect LGBTQ kids in foster care, and steps to end LGBTQ homelessness,” Biden said.
“Congress has to pass … the Equality Act and send it to my desk. LGBTQ Americans, especially children, you’re loved, you’re heard, and this administration has your back, and I mean it. We are not relenting one single second to make sure that they’re protected,” he added.
Earlier this week, Missouri became the latest state to ban gender treatment for minors, following Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signing a similar bill into law last week. At least 20 states have now enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.