Former Vice President Joe Biden launched a new initiative on Tuesday aimed at increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people.
The “As You Are” campaign, undertaken by the Biden Foundation, will focus in particular on the importance of family and community acceptance of LGBTQ youth.
It is collecting testimonies from LGBTQ youth, their family members, educators, and more, with the aim of using those to create educational tools “with the hope that they will serve to inspire, to create communities, to heal families, and to change the broader culture to ensure a bright future for all LGBTQ young people,” the foundation said in a statement.
Biden said the foundation will “highlight the harms of family rejection—and lift up research, best practices, and personal stories to powerfully show the significant value of family acceptance.”
“LGBTQ young people should never have to face rejection from those who love them,” he wrote on Twitter.
LGBTQ young people should never have to face rejection from those who love them. Share your story with @bidenfoundation about the importance of family acceptance, because we all deserve to be safe, loved, and affirmed. #AsYouAre https://t.co/FKAz3mirQO pic.twitter.com/fMWz2SUoiL
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 7, 2018
The announcement was also made via a video featuring Biden alongside Cyndi Lauper, former NFL player Wade Davis, and a number of LGBTQ advocates and organization leaders.
The video begins with Biden noting the advances that have been made in the fight for the community’s rights. Yet, the advocates note, far too many youths are still left vulnerable, due to family and community rejection and discrimination.
“40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ,” says activist Shéár Avory.
“Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are five times more likely than their straight peers to have attempted suicide,” adds The Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley.
Model, producer and advocate Geena Rocero notes that 40% of transgender and gender nonconforming adults report having attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
“By sharing your stories, we can work together to change the culture and ensure a great future for the LGBTQ young people in America,” Biden says.
The former vice president, who is considered a potential 2020 presidential contender, has long been a champion of LGBTQ rights, coming out in support of marriage equality even before former President Barack Obama.
He recently launched another campaign, also through the Biden Foundation, aimed at LGBTQ acceptance. That initiative, announced in May, sees the foundation partnering with the YMCA, with a goal of not only making Ys more inclusive and welcoming, but also the communities in which they exist.