Biden in his own words: Under Donald Trump, hate crimes of all kinds have been rising. Nearly 20% of hate crimes are committed against LGBTQ people, and transgender women of color are especially targeted by these violent crimes. It’s intolerable. As president, I will combat the epidemic of violence against transgender women and transgender women of color.
We all have a duty to declare with conviction that hatred and bigotry have no place in America. As president, I’ll do all I can to tackle the deadly combination of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism that is driving that violence. And, my administration will make prosecuting their murderers a priority.
During my first 100 days in office I will direct federal resources to help prevent violence against transgender women and transgender women of color. Recognizing that employment and housing discrimination lead to increased risk of homelessness and violence, I will also work to pass the Equality Act to reduce economic barriers and social stigma, and the LGBTQ Essential Data Act, which will help collect critical data about anti-trans violence and the factors that drive it. I will also direct my Administration to update the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Supplementary Homicide Reports (UCR-SHR) to include sexual orientation and gender identity, which will improve our ability to fully diagnose and measure the extent of violent crimes against transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual victims.
Over the years, I have championed more than a dozen bills around hate crime prevention efforts, including legislation in 1989 requiring the government to begin collecting data around hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and landmark legislation in 1994 allowing harsher penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation. In 2009, President Obama and I championed and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act into law, which expanded the nation’s hate crimes law to include crimes based on one’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. But today there is still so much more work to do. I will strengthen enforcement of the Matthew Shepard Act by increasing funding for anti-bias and hate crimes investigation training. I will work with Congress to pass both the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer No Hate Act, which would require national hate crime reporting and data collection, as well as victim assistance and support, and the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, which as HRC describes “would prohibit law enforcement from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.” In addition, I will ensure that my administration’s Department of Justice makes hate crimes a prosecutorial priority.
Additionally, transgender and non-binary people without identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity are often exposed to harassment and violence and denied employment, housing, critical public benefits, and even the right to vote. The Obama-Biden State Department led the way by updating its gender change policies for passports. As president, I will build on this action to ensure all transgender individuals have access to identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity, a key step to reducing anti-transgender discrimination, harrassment, and violence. I believe every transgender or non-binary person should have the option of selecting “X” as their gender marker on government identifications, passports, and other documentation. I will support state and federal efforts to allow for this accurate representation.
I will also work to increase the safety of transgender individuals who are incarcerated. The Obama-Biden Administration issued guidance on implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards, requiring gender identity be considered when making housing assignments. The Trump-Pence Administration has rolled back this guidance, requiring biological sex to be used in housing determinations, putting transgender inmates in serious danger of assault and rape. As president, I will reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance and direct my Justice Department to ensure that federal and state correctional facilities comply with the PREA standards. In addition, I ensure all transgender inmates have access to appropriate doctors and medical care – including OBGYNs and hormone therapy. And, I will require the Bureau of Prisons to revise the Transgender Offender Manual to once again include protections for transgender individuals who are incarcerated.
I will also support reforms that allow transgender Americans incarcerated in federal prisons to petition to change their legal names and gender identity on official documents, and will support a prohibition on gay and transgender “panic” defense and increase LGBTQ cultural competency trainings and bias trainings for law enforcement offices.