Joyce, a lifelong Republican, sits with her son, who recently came out as transgender. Joyce says she is voting for Joe Biden, believing the Democratic candidate will help protect and strengthen LGBTQ+ rights, ensuring a safer future for her children. (Keystone Photo/Michele Haddon) Joyce and Her Son
Joyce, a lifelong Republican, sits with her son, who recently came out as transgender. Joyce says she is voting for Joe Biden, believing the Democratic candidate will help protect and strengthen LGBTQ+ rights, ensuring a safer future for her children. (Keystone Photo/Michele Haddon)

Bucks County mom changed her outlook on President Trump and public policy after seeing how his policies could affect her son.

BUCKS COUNTY — Joyce voted for Donald Trump in 2016, hoping the new president would bring about a positive change for the country.

Four years ago, Joyce said, she had grown tired of the political games she felt many politicians played and thought Trump, a Washington outsider, could lead the nation in a different direction. A lifelong Republican, she also agreed with the party’s stances on national security and fiscal conservatism—two issues that topped her list. 

But two years later, as her family navigated their way through an extremely difficult time, Joyce started seeing the president through very different eyes.

Instead of the change she had hoped for, she saw the country slip backwards as hatred spread across a growing divide under Trump’s leadership. And that same hate had crept its way into her home.

Joyce’s oldest child, who had been identified as a girl at birth, was battling a deep depression brought about by ongoing alienation and bullying at school. The child attempted to take their own life, a devastating act that rocked the entire family. 

While undergoing therapy, Joyce’s oldest child came out as transgender.

“I just hugged him and said, ‘No matter what we will always love you and no matter what we will always be here for you and I will walk this with you,’” Joyce recalled, making it known he could count on their unconditional acceptance and support, as he explored his gender identity. 

Joyce has asked to be identified by her middle name, and that her son not be identified, because her son is still dealing with bullying at his Bucks County school.

Joyce and her family have worked to create a safe space at home, which has helped the young boy’s healing process. Joyce now worries about how her son will be treated at school and out in the world.

“You just fear what that day holds potentially. And you hope that the things you’re doing at home is going to carry them through those next eight hours,” Joyce said.

She also grew discouraged over a presidency she felt only further fueled a climate of hate in this country.

“With Trump, it just feels dangerous. I don’t like who he’s brought out. I don’t like how our country has changed under his administration,” Joyce said. 

Human rights and equality were always important issues to her, Joyce said. Only now those issues have moved to the top of her list, as she said she feels there’s a steep price to pay for putting anything else first.

“The cost is people,” Joyce said, mentioning that her younger daughter asked her this year, “How can you vote for someone who you know is going to take away your other child’s rights?”

And that’s why, this time around, Joyce said she is voting for former Vice President Joe Biden. She believes the Democratic candidate will work to protect transgender rights, along with the rights of other marginalized citizens.

“With this current administration, I basically felt that there’s a lot of rhetoric that is creating a lot of divide within this country and lack of inclusivity,” Joyce said.

In Biden, Joyce said, she hopes “to have a president that would condemn that type of behavior and try to bring the country back together, especially one that supports the LGBTQ groups and their rights.”

“I am voting for my kids,” Joyce added. “I would love for a world where you can just be who you are without fear of judgment. I’d like it to be a lighter world for them.”