US President Joe Biden on Thursday released a video message in observance of International Transgender Day of Visibility, wherein he said that transgender people were “made in image of God,” and urged parents to be supportive of their child’s identity.

“To everyone celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility, I want you to know that your president sees you — Jill, Kamala, Doug, our entire administration sees you — for who you are: made in image of God and deserving of dignity, respect and support,” the 79-year-old said in the video, pledging support to the transgender community.

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“We know it’s hard when there are those out there who don’t see you, don’t respect you. For example, the onslaught of anti-transgender state laws attacking you and your families is simply wrong,” the President further said.

He went on to criticise “hateful” legislation against the transgender community, such as laws in the states of Florida (which prohibit instruction on sexuality and gender identity till third grade), as well as those in Arizona and Oklahoma that prevent transgender girls from participation in female sports.

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“This administration is standing up for you against all these hateful bills. And we’re committed to advancing transgender equality in the classroom, on the playing field, at work, in our military, and our housing and health care systems — everywhere, simply everywhere,” President Biden said.

The 79-year-old concluded his message urging parents to be supportive and said, “To parents of transgender children, affirming your child’s identity is one of the most powerful things you can do to keep them safe and healthy. Any transgender American who’s struggling, please know you’re not alone. You’re so brave. You belong and we have your back.”

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President Biden’s video message to mark the occasion reflects the gradual change in his stance on transgender and gay rights: in his days as a senator, Biden had back several anti-LGBTQ bills, and was one of the 32 Senate Democrats who voted for a federal ban on same-sex marriage in the 1990s. He had also voted for an amendment to ban the use of federal funds in schools “for the promotion of homosexuality as a positive lifestyle alternative.”

Since 2012, however, Biden has gradually changed his stance: as the Vice-President to Barack Obama, Biden said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, and last year, as President, also repealed the Donald Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the army.