According to NBC News, former Vice President Joe Biden launched a new campaign through his foundation on Tuesday to help raise awareness about the importance of family acceptance and support for LGBTQ+ youth.
Titled “As You Are,” the campaign has vowed to research and pinpoint the various damages that being rejected by one’s family can have on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids and adolescents.
In a statement issued to NBC News, Biden announced, “We’ll use our resources to highlight the harms of family rejection — and lift up research, best practices and personal stories to powerfully show the significant value of family acceptance.”
Currently gathering the personal stories of queer and trans kids and their families, the campaign aims to use these anecdotes to help educate the general population about the importance of familial acceptance by highlighting both the positive and negative experiences gained by being either accepted or rejected by one’s family.
The original statement announcing the launch claims that the goal of the campaign is “to inspire, to create communities, to heal families, and to change the broader culture to ensure a bright future for all LGBTQ young people.”
So far, the Biden Foundation’s “As You Are” campaign has been praised by many LGBTQ rights organizations.
The co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy Shepard, lauded the campaign’s overall goal, saying, “It’s not enough to change laws and policies. We have to change hearts and minds.”
“No matter who you are, where you live, or how you pray, surely we can all agree that we ought to live in a society where all our young people are supported and affirmed,” Shepard noted.
The CEO of The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, echoed this sentiment, urging that family acceptance can potentially save the lives of LGBTQ youth. “Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are more than four times more likely than their straight peers to attempt suicide,” Paley said. “And 40% of transgender and gender nonconforming adults report having attempted suicide at some point in their lives, most of them before the age of 25. That’s why it is so important to support LGBTQ youth and let them know that they are not alone.”
According to a recent University of Chicago study, LGBTQ youth are two times more likely to wind up homeless than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts and the most common reason for child homelessness is a direct result of being rejected by one’s family for their gender identity or sexual orientation.