—Joe Biden, former Vice President and co-chair of the Biden Foundation, and Kevin Washington, president of the YMCA, in a statement announcing a joint partnership to foster LGBTQ inclusion.
In a country where LGBTQ people are more likely to be at risk for mood or mental health disorders, Biden and Washington said they would work together to develop a support network for LGBTQ resources.
“Our shared belief is that communities — and our nation — cannot reach their full potential when a segment of the population is marginalized,” they said. “These harrowing statistics demonstrate we’re not yet where we want to be.”
Their plan is to choose a few Y’s and “develop and implement locally focused strategies designed to engage and support LGBTQ individuals and their families,” which could include staff training, member and community outreach and innovative programs to help queer people find help at the Y. After a few years, they will be looking to spread that training to other YMCA’s nationwide.
Biden and Washington said that they are hoping this new partnership will allow the gaps in support networks to be filled in for LGBTQ people.
“Equality and opportunity for all is the way to a brighter future, and at the Biden Foundation and the Y, this is the future we are working to create,” they said.
Joe Biden has been a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights. He called transgender rights “the civil rights issue of our time,” and he has been fiercely critical of reports of anti-gay persecution in Chechnya and elsewhere in the world.