LGBTQ Equality Groups React to Biden-Harris Winning White House

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday November 7, 2020

In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pass each other as Harris moves to the podium to speak during a campaign event at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del.
In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pass each other as Harris moves to the podium to speak during a campaign event at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del.   (Source:AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

LGTBQ equality groups were quick to respond to news that, after days of counting ballots in battleground states, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the election.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement that took note of the fact that Biden and Harris had garnered "more votes than any other presidential ticket in U.S. history."

HRC President Alphonso David said in the release that, "President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are not just willing to be our allies, but they are true advocates for equality. And they've done it for decades."

Alphonso went on to recall "Biden's work championing hate crimes protections in the 1980's" and "Harris performing some of the first marriages for LGBTQ couples after Prop 8 was overturned," saying that "these leaders have a clear vision that centers unity over division."

Rea Carey of The National LGBTQ Task Force echoed those sentiments, saying in a release from the Task Force, "My hope is that after four years of white supremacist policies, actions and rhetoric" that catered to those foes of equality of all sorts, "we have elected national leaders who have vowed to see and fight for the humanity in all of us."

Carey also pointed to the "rainbow wave" that saw LGBTQ candidates win races at federal, state, and local levels even in deep-red states, saying, "I was thrilled to see the breadth of diversity of out LGBTQ+ political victories across the county and up and down the ballot, making history from New York to Kansas to Oklahoma to Delaware."

That sense of hope and history was a common theme in statements made by equality advocates. GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Executive Director Janson Wu hailed Biden and Harris' victory and spoke of it in terms of now having "not just the opportunity but the responsibility to move our country closer to the nation of equals we aspire to be."

The Modern Military Association looked forward to an administration that would celebrate and welcome patriotic transgender Americans, in contrast to President Trump's banning of trans servicemembers.

"Thankfully, President-elect Biden has pledged to quickly take action and reverse Trump's unconstitutional transgender military ban," said MMAA Interim Executive Director and Air Force veteran Jennifer Dane in a statement released by the group. "Every qualified American patriot — regardless of their gender identity — should be able to serve."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) also put out a release, in which Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon said, "President-Elect Joe Biden has long been a champion of our community and he has promised the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration that has ever been in the White House."

Rupert-Gordon went on to note that Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris "not only represents the first woman ever with the title Vice President-Elect, but also the first Black woman and South Asian woman to hold the position, which will provide a perspective that we have never had in that role before.

"This gives us hope — hope that we can begin to build a solid foundation of trust where our community has previously felt left out."

At the same time, equality organizations recognized that despite the promise of a fresh beginning, it will take effort and commitment to begin reversing the impact of the Trump administration on the LGBTQ community.

David Alphonso of the HRC said as much, noting that "hard work lies ahead. Trump, Pence and anti-equality forces left us with unlawful and regressive policies that have stripped away protections marginalized communities have had for years."

Carey cautioned: "...let us not become complacent or pause in the comfort of a more LGBTQ+ friendly administration. We must continue the work to confront white supremacy and to work for a racially just country."

Ruper-Gordon also offered a reminder of the tasks that remain, citing needed efforts aimed at "reversing Trump's baseless and immoral transgender military ban and restoring protections for LGBTQ students, to protecting LGBTQ families and asylum seekers and providing relief to the millions of people who are struggling to pay rent, buy food, and keep their families afloat" due to the economic ravages that the COVID-19 pandemic has visited on the nation.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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