Former Vice President Joe Biden has launched an initiative to promote the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals by their families. The “As You Are” campaign will run through the Biden Foundation, which lists “ensuring LGBTQ equality” as one of their pillars.
In a video announcing the initiative, Biden, singer Cyndi Lauper, former NFL player Wade Davis, and a number of LGBTQ advocates and activists note the progress society has made towards LGBTQ acceptance, but stress the importance of family acceptance as well.
“We’ll use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection, and to lift up research, best practices, and personal stories to show the importance of family acceptance,” said Biden.
According to their statistics, gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are five times as likely as straight youths to attempt suicide, and 40% of transgender or gender non-conforming adults report having attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Many LGBTQ youths face homelessness as well, feeling unwelcome or unsafe in their own homes. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, homeless LGBTQ individuals are at heightened risk for violence, abuse, and exploitation.
The “As You Are” campaign aims to alleviate such threats by changing the culture. The campaign is currently collecting stories from LGBTQ individuals and those in their lives: friends, siblings, parents, teachers, coaches, and allies. Whether the story is about acceptance or rejection, the foundation hopes to educate the public on the LGBTQ experience.
“By sharing your stories, we can work together to change the culture and ensure a bright future for the LGBTQ young people in America,” said Biden.
Biden first came out in support of equal LGBTQ rights in 2012, just ahead of Barack Obama, when he said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage.