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Biden did not say transgender children should be able to ‘transition’

October 21, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said if your 8-year-old child wants to be transgender to make life easier, “they have a right to transition and there is no reason for you to deny it.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Social media users are altering comments made by Biden during an Oct. 15 town hall to falsely suggest he supports sex changing medical procedures for young children. Biden said transgender children should not experience discrimination, but he did not say they “have a right to transition.”

THE FACTS: Social media users are distorting Biden’s response to a question about a transgender child at a town hall to imply he supports sex changing medical procedures for children. 


At the town hall, aired on ABC on Oct. 15, Pennsylvania voter Mieke Haeck asked Biden how he would reverse actions by the Trump administration that had negatively affected LGBTQ people, including her 8-year-old transgender daughter.

Biden responded, “I will flat out just change the law. Every — eliminate those executive orders, number one.”

He added, “The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, ‘You know I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier.’ There should be zero discrimination.”

However, social media users are sharing a post that distorts that quote. A Facebook post shared more than 7,700 times quotes Biden as saying, “If your 8 year old child says they want to be transgender to make life easier … they have a right to transition and there is no reason for you to deny it.”

A transcript of the town hall shows Biden never mentioned transitioning, or sex changing medical procedures in his response.

Biden has outlined a series of policy goals related to the LGBTQ community on his website. Among them, he pledges to protect LGBTQ youth from civil rights violations and harassment in schools and reverse a ban on transgender people serving in the military introduced under President Donald Trump.

Biden’s website does not discuss sex changing medical procedures for children.


The Associated Press previously debunked other claims related to this town hall question.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: