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Several Democratic candidates brought the issue of transgender rights to the debate stage on Wednesday night — likely the most prominent national discussion of trans issues and rights in politics to date.

“We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially African-American trans Americans, and the incredibly high rates of murder right now. We don't talk enough about how many children, about 30% of LGBTQ kids, who do not go to school because of fear."
— Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey)

Context: At least ten black transgender women have been reportedly killed this year, Vox reports. Booker appeared to be responding to these statistics.

The big picture: The Trump administration has worked to undo a major chunk of LGBTQ protections secured under President Obama — with most of the effort directed towards transgender rights.

That includes:

  • Rolling back an Obama-era order allowing transgender people to openly serve in the U.S. military
  • Attempting to roll back protections for transgender people established under the Affordable Care Act
  • Telling the Supreme Court that federal law doesn't protect transgender people from workplace discrimination
  • Removing Title IX protections for transgender youth
  • Changing an Obama-era policy allowing prisoners to be housed based on gender identity.

What else they're saying: At Wednesday's debate, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro referenced transgender women while explaining his stance on reproductive healthcare, saying trans women should have "the right to choose" abortion access.

  • Reality check: Transgender men and non-binary people with a uterus can get pregnant and may choose to obtain an abortion. Transgender women cannot get pregnant.

Flashback: Castro, Warren, and Biden made a point to include transgender people in their reproductive health care spiels at a Planned Parenthood forum in June.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.