One week after one of the most important presidential elections of our lifetimes, we have a clear winner. Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris are now President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.
In our 2020 Elected Official Scorecard, Vice President Biden earned a B, and Senator Harris earned an A—compared to the Fs that both President Trump and Vice President Pence earned.
Excitingly, in his first statement as President-elect, Joe Biden explicitly named and thanked LGBTQ+ people—and transgender Americans specifically—for being part of the diverse coalition that won him the election. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time ever that a President-elect has mentioned transgender people in their victory speech.
We also learned this week that President-elect Biden named Shawn Skelly, a transgender veteran, to his transition team in an effort to evaluate Department of Defense policies and prepare for a revoking of President Trump’s ban on transgender service members. Other openly LGBTQ+ Americans who have been named to Biden’s transition team include:
- Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Pete Buttigieg;
- Dave Noble, an out former Obama appointee to NASA; and
- Chai Feldblum, a former member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Vice President-elect Harris is making history as the first woman, first Black American, and first South Asian American to be elected Vice President. Her staffing choices are making history, too. Most notably, her campaign chief of staff for the campaign was a Black, lesbian woman named Karine Jean-Pierre.
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris ran on a platform of national unity that never once sought to leave LGBTQ+ Americans behind. Their transition team has promised that passing the Equality Act will be a priority in the first 100 days of their administration, and the other commitments that they have made give us hope for the future of LGBTQ+ policy at the federal level.
But this is no time to stop. Our work is picking up at the state level as we work to pass the Ohio Fairness Act, protect youth from the harms of so-called conversion “therapy,” and defend against the continuing onslaught of harmful anti-LGBTQ legislation that continues to be introduced. Take action now by leaving a message with House Speaker Cupp asking that the Ohio Fairness Act be brought to a vote as soon as possible. His number is (614) 466-9624.
At the local level, we continue to work with cities and towns across our state to pass nondiscrimination ordinances and protections for kids against conversion therapy. And at the federal level, we will continue to meet with our Representatives and Senators to educate them on LGBTQ+ issues and hold elected officials at all levels of government accountable for the decisions they make regarding LGBTQ+ Ohioans.
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