- Biden promises to ban conversion therapy, allow trans people to serve in the armed forces and bring in the Equality Act.
Joe Biden has named his LGBT+ steering committee – aimed at turning out record numbers of LGBT+ voters in November.
Meanwhile the Biden campaign has also launched a special section of its site with his plan for LGBT+ equality in America.
In it he promises to bring in the Equality Act within his first 100 days in office. Moreover, he will end the ban on trans people serving in the armed forces. And he pledges to tackle both LGBT+ youth homelessness and violence against trans people, particularly trans women of color.
Former Vice President Biden is now the Democrat’s official nominee for the election, having secured over 2,000 of the 3,979 pledged delegates.
And he has been surging ahead in the polls. An average of leading polls now puts him 7.5 points ahead of incumbent Donald Trump.
But the Biden campaign hopes its Out for Biden arm will play a crucial role. LGBT+ people are far more likely to vote Democrat. And mobilizing that vote could make all the difference in marginal states.
To do this, they will need to mobilize all possible LGBT+ voters. And so their decision to launch as Black Lives Matter protests dominate the debate in the US is not a coincidence.
Reggie Greer, the Biden campaign’s LGBTQ+ vote director, said:
‘Our campaign’s decision to launch Out for Biden in the shadow of historic protest elevates the power of the moment and encourages deep – and sometimes difficult – dialogue within our LGBTQ+ community as Pride month begins.
‘LGBTQ+ people of color are central to the fabric of our communities. We must elect a government that will center their voices and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.’
Joe Biden’s LGBT+ platform promises Equality Act will be top priority
‘The Biden Plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in American and around the world’ sets out the most far reaching platform of any presidential nominee so far.
In it, Biden heralds his record as vice president in the Obama administration. He particularly highlights his support for marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and passing the Hate Crimes Act.
But his campaign pledges to go far further.
In particular, the campaign promises: ‘Biden will make enactment of the Equality Act during his first 100 days as president a top legislative priority.’
This will help protect around half of all LGBT+ Americans who live in states which don’t protect them from discrimination.
He also pledges to reverse Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the military. The campaign says: ‘Biden will direct the US Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly, receive needed medical treatment, and be free from discrimination.’
Meanwhile he will also reverse another Trump policy – to ensure trans students can access ‘sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity’.
Furthermore, he will bring in ‘gender X’ documents, making the US one of very few countries to do so. Every transgender or non-binary person will be able to put their gender as ‘M’, ‘F’ or ‘X’. This will be possible on all government ID, including passports.
Tackling homelessness, murder and banning conversion therapy
Biden also pledges to ‘eliminate LGBTQ+ youth homelessness’ noting that LGBT+ young people are twice as likely to be homeless as others. And he promises to tackle the high levels of suicide among LGBT+ youths.
Moreover Biden’s campaign also notes that trans women of color are facing an ‘epidemic of violence’ and murder. He pledges to ‘direct federal resources to help prevent violence against transgender women, particularly transgender women of color’ during his first 100 days in office.
And he will also ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’. Currently only five countries in the world have legal bans on the dangerous and unscientific ‘cures’ for LGBT+ people.
Finally, Biden also promises to act to advance LGBT+ rights around the world. The Obama administration was the first to make LGBT+ issues a State Department priority.
He promises to ‘restore the United States’ standing as a global leader defending LGBTQ+ rights and development’. Furthermore, he says he will start to act on this during his first week in office.
Power of the LGBT+ vote
The Out for Biden committee reflects the potential importance of LGBT+ voters to the campaign.
It has over 30 members including LGBT+ Congress members and leading campaigners.
The Williams Institute estimates the US has 11million LGBT+ people eligible to vote. And that 9million of them are registered to vote.
Many of the registered Democrats supported other candidates, particularly Bernie Sanders in the primaries. However, they are likely to back Biden as the Democratic candidate now.
In the 2016 presidential election, 78% of LGBT+ people voted for Hillary Clinton against just 14% for Donald Trump.
Furthermore, in th 2018 midterm elections 82% of LGBT% people voted Democrat for Congress, while just 17% voted Republican.