October 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Biden: LGBT discrimination the ‘civil rights issue of our time’

Vice President Joe Biden (Blade photo by Michael Key)

Vice President Joseph Biden apparently called LGBT discrimination the “civil rights issue of our time” before an Obama campaign office in Florida, according to a pool report.

According to The Tribune’s Michael Memoli, Biden made the remarks to a woman in Sarasota, Fla., following a speech he delivered to supporters at a local campaign office.

He singled one woman out who he thought had beautiful eyes. She said something to her at first inaudible to pool, to which VP responded was the “civil rights issue of our time”

Pool later asked the woman, Linda Carragher Bourne of Sarasota about the exchange. She said her daughter was Miss Trans New England and asked if he would help them.

“A lot of my friends are being killed, and they don’t have the civil rights yet. These guys are gonna make it happen,” she told the pool.

According to LinkedIn, a Linda Carragher Bourne works as a freelancer writer in Sarasota and is an editor a Self Magazine, an magazine for women’s health and fitness. The most recent winner of Miss Trans New England, according to the pageant’s website, is Nicole Hamidi.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Biden’s reference to the “civil rights issue of our time” was meant to indicate LGBT discrimination in general or, more specifically, transgender discrimination.

Biden has been among the most outspoken officials in the Obama administration in his support for LGBT rights. His endorsement of same-sex marriage preceded President Obama’s when he said in May during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he’s “absolutely comfortable” with married gay couples having the same rights as straight couples.

Over the course of the presidential campaign, Biden has engaged in LGBT outreach. Before a crowd at the prominent gay resort town of Provincetown, Mass., Biden said in August that LGBT Americans are “freeing the souls of the American people” and gay activists aren’t just fighting for their own civil rights, but the “civil rights of every straight American.”


Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Linda Carragher Bourne is the mother of the first Miss Trans New England, Lorelei Erisis, for clarification.

  • Just a small correction, I am the Original Miss Trans New England 2009, it was my own dear Mom who spoke to the Vice President. And as the aforementioned Miss Trans New England, I would like to thank Vice President Biden for his words in support of Transgender Civil Rights! Also, for his apparently excellent taste in singling my Mom, Linda Carragher Bourne out from the crowd! Slainte Mr. Vice President! Trans Rights Now!

  • I think it's interesting that while the rest of the media believes VP Biden was speaking about trans rights, Chris Johnson is the only reporter who broadened his comments to mean he was talking about the entire LGBT community. Funny how you never see this kind of thing from the Blade when the topic is marriage or another gay-specific issue like DADT. Holy misappropriation, Batman!

  • Biden himself doesn't know what Biden is talking about. Words just spew from his mouth at random. And as for "He singled one woman out who he thought had beautiful eyes." Joe, how about paying some attention to the ugly people? You're discriminating. Or maybe trying to get lucky?

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