On July 22, 2016, Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in Cleveland. In his speech that night, Trump pledged to “do everything in [his] power to protect our LGBTQ citizens.”
Almost one year later to the day, on July 26, 2017, Trump announced by tweet that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
Unfortunately, the broken promises to the LGBTQ community don’t stop there.
As he campaigned for office in 2016, Trump claimed that he would be a “real friend” to LGBTQ Americans. He claimed to support marriage equality and said he would “fight” for equal rights.
Four years later, we’ve seen exactly how hollow those words were.
Instead of pushing for progress and advocating reforms that would advance equality in this country, this administration has taken the exact opposite approach, rolling back hard-fought anti-discrimination protections on issues ranging from healthcare to housing to military service.
With our nation more divided than ever and with hate crimes directed at the LGBTQ community on the rise, we find ourselves in a perilous moment — one that demands leadership that brings us together. But time and time again, instead of rallying Americans together in opposition to hate and discrimination, this administration has largely responded with a deafening silence or even outright hostility.
The latest examples occurred within days of each other earlier this summer, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a proposal that would allow homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming Americans. The announcement came just after the Department of Health and Human Services issued a similar regulation that undid healthcare protections for transgender people.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration even directed its lawyers to argue to the Supreme Court that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not apply to gay and transgender workers — leaving them susceptible to being fired over their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Throughout the course of this presidency, we have seen that LGBTQ rights are not just at risk — they are under attack. When I came out publicly in 2008, our country’s laws and attitudes on equality were very different, and in the years after, I was encouraged to see the tremendous progress America was making. Since Trump became President, however, our progress has stalled and even reversed. It’s been upsetting to see our rights at the mercy of the occupant of the White House.
It couldn’t be more evident that come November, we need to take the first step towards moving back in the right direction. We need a President who will set a tone of inclusion and equality from the Oval Office, and Joe Biden has already shown us exactly the kind of leadership he will bring to the job.
In the U.S. Senate, he championed the Matthew Shepard and James L. Byrd Hate Crimes Act. As Vice President, he worked to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and proudly announced his support for marriage equality before it was politically popular. And now, as a candidate for President, Biden has pledged his support for legislation like the Equality Act, which will ensure that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation ends.
Throughout his career in public service, Joe Biden has been a staunch ally for the LGBTQ community. His commitment to the cause of equality speaks for itself, and it’s exactly what we need in the White House.