Advocates: Biden Will Move America Away from Trump's 'Discrimination Administration'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday January 12, 2021

LGBTQ equality advocates are confident that President-elect Joe Biden will move America away from Trump's "discrimination administration," reports the Washington Post.

Biden was the first Obama administration official to publicly support marriage equality, though his record on the issue over the years wasn't supportive. Nonetheless, he has vowed to prioritize the passage of the Equality Act, a long-sought update of federal anti-discrimination law that would include the LGBTQ community.

The Trump administration, by contrast, continues to attack LGBTQ Americans in its waning days. A rollback of Obama-era protections relevant to sexual minorities came into effect just last week - the day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

"Just weeks before it leaves office, the Trump administration handed out a 400-page document detailing how federal contractors and recipients of government grants can cite their religious views to refuse to provide health coverage for birth control and other reproductive care and adoption services to single people or LGBTQ couples," detailed the Post.

Biden, the Post recalled, "has called religious freedom 'a fundamental American value,' but also promised to reverse Trump administration policies that are 'misusing these broad exemptions,' " especially those that target the transgender community.

Biden has said that he will restore the rights of trans patriots to serve openly in uniform and restore protections for transgender youth in America's schools, the Post article added. Biden has publicly stated that equality for transgender Americans is "the civil rights issue of our time."

The president-elect has also directly acknowledged the epidemic of violence that has seen the killings of trans women - many of them people of color - skyrocket in the last few years. "Advocates praised Biden for bringing the issue to the national stage and vowing to direct federal resources to prevent and prosecute such homicides," the Post noted.

That in itself constitutes a landmark departure from the Trump years. The Post quoted the National Black Justice Coalition's Executive Director, David J. Johns, as saying, "Even though the transgender community may have more visibility in TV shows like 'Pose,' the vitriol at the policy level that exists within the system leaves no promise of justice."

But with Democrats and Republicans 50/50 in the Senate and the House retaining a narrower majority than it had before the 2020 elections, getting the Equality Act passed might be a challenge, the Post noted.

"Some Republicans have instead backed the Fairness for All Act, which provides some LGBTQ protections while also granting certain exceptions for religious institutions and organizations," the Post pointed out, adding that another hurdle is the fact that many state legislatures have taken up anti-LGBTQ - and, more specifically, anti-trans - legislation over the past few years.

Still, the story said, the nation's president does help set the tone of the country and words that come from the Oval Office carry considerable weight with many Americans.

The Post quoted Drew Anderson, formerly of GLADD, who said of anti-gay bias and the discriminatory policies it fosters: "It always helps to have an LGBTQ ally in the White House who will call it for what it is: Hatred for an everyday American."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. 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.