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Biden in his own words: I will provide moral leadership to champion equality for all LGBTQ Americans and fight to ensure our laws and institutions protect and enforce their rights. I have named the Equality Act as a top legislative priority. In the majority of states across the country, state law does not explicitly protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. It’s wrong, and I will make the case for and pass the Equality Act so that LGBTQ individuals receive consistent protection from discrimination, including with respect to “employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.” I will also direct my Cabinet to ensure immediate and full enforcement of the Equality Act across all federal departments and agencies.
Biden in his own words: We need to root out discrimination in our laws, institutions, and public spaces. Religion should not be used as license to discriminate, and as president I will oppose legislation to deny LGBTQ equal treatment in public places.
Biden in his own words: I believe that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and to live without fear, no matter who you are or who you love. In 2011, the Obama-Biden Department of Justice stopped defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and I am proud that I became the highest-ranking American official to publicly support marriage equality when declared that love is love during an interview with Meet the Press in 2012. In 2014, after the Supreme Court’s historic decision in United States v. Windsor, the Obama-Biden Administration took swift action to implement the Court’s ruling, which led to the largest conferral of rights and benefits to LGBTQ people in history. Three years later in 2015, the Supreme Court agreed and ruled in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right for all LGBTQ Americans.
Biden in his own words: I have long fought for access to treatment for people with HIV/AIDS. Dating back to 1987, I voted to authorize critical funding for medication that prolonged life for people with AIDS. In 1990, I cosponsored the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which created the largest government program focused specifically on providing life-saving treatment and care to low-income, poor, and uninsured people living with HIV. In 2008, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I sponsored the reauthorization of the Global AIDS program (PEPFAR), which significantly expanded the funding and targets for treatment, care, and prevention of HIV/AIDS and repealed a statutory ban on visas for people who were HIV-positive.
As president, I will continue supporting LGBTQ health by defending the rights of all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, to have access to quality, affordable health care. I support ensuring that federal health plans provide coverage for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) -- lifesaving, highly-effective HIV prevention medications. Fortunately, thanks to a recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPSTF), PrEP must be covered without cost-sharing starting in 2021. I will support further efforts to make PrEP and other HIV prevention medications accessible to high-risk populations. My administration will also actively oppose any cuts to federal budgets to programs that serve the LGBTQ community, including programs that assist Americans living with HIV and AIDS.
I will update and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, to reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care for those living with HIV, and reduce the disparities faced especially by gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color.
Biden in his own words: Under Donald Trump, hate crimes of all kinds have been rising. Nearly 20% of hate crimes are committed against LGBTQ people, and transgender women of color are especially targeted by these violent crimes. It’s intolerable. As president, I will combat the epidemic of violence against transgender women and transgender women of color.
We all have a duty to declare with conviction that hatred and bigotry have no place in America. As president, I’ll do all I can to tackle the deadly combination of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism that is driving that violence. And, my administration will make prosecuting their murderers a priority.
During my first 100 days in office I will direct federal resources to help prevent violence against transgender women and transgender women of color. Recognizing that employment and housing discrimination lead to increased risk of homelessness and violence, I will also work to pass the Equality Act to reduce economic barriers and social stigma, and the LGBTQ Essential Data Act, which will help collect critical data about anti-trans violence and the factors that drive it. I will also direct my Administration to update the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Supplementary Homicide Reports (UCR-SHR) to include sexual orientation and gender identity, which will improve our ability to fully diagnose and measure the extent of violent crimes against transgender, gay, lesbian, and bisexual victims.
Over the years, I have championed more than a dozen bills around hate crime prevention efforts, including legislation in 1989 requiring the government to begin collecting data around hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and landmark legislation in 1994 allowing harsher penalties for crimes based on sexual orientation. In 2009, President Obama and I championed and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act into law, which expanded the nation’s hate crimes law to include crimes based on one’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. But today there is still so much more work to do. I will strengthen enforcement of the Matthew Shepard Act by increasing funding for anti-bias and hate crimes investigation training. I will work with Congress to pass both the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer No Hate Act, which would require national hate crime reporting and data collection, as well as victim assistance and support, and the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, which as HRC describes “would prohibit law enforcement from targeting a person based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.” In addition, I will ensure that my administration’s Department of Justice makes hate crimes a prosecutorial priority.
Additionally, transgender and non-binary people without identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity are often exposed to harassment and violence and denied employment, housing, critical public benefits, and even the right to vote. The Obama-Biden State Department led the way by updating its gender change policies for passports. As president, I will build on this action to ensure all transgender individuals have access to identification documents that accurately reflect their gender identity, a key step to reducing anti-transgender discrimination, harrassment, and violence. I believe every transgender or non-binary person should have the option of selecting “X” as their gender marker on government identifications, passports, and other documentation. I will support state and federal efforts to allow for this accurate representation.
I will also work to increase the safety of transgender individuals who are incarcerated. The Obama-Biden Administration issued guidance on implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards, requiring gender identity be considered when making housing assignments. The Trump-Pence Administration has rolled back this guidance, requiring biological sex to be used in housing determinations, putting transgender inmates in serious danger of assault and rape. As president, I will reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance and direct my Justice Department to ensure that federal and state correctional facilities comply with the PREA standards. In addition, I ensure all transgender inmates have access to appropriate doctors and medical care – including OBGYNs and hormone therapy. And, I will require the Bureau of Prisons to revise the Transgender Offender Manual to once again include protections for transgender individuals who are incarcerated.
I will also support reforms that allow transgender Americans incarcerated in federal prisons to petition to change their legal names and gender identity on official documents, and will support a prohibition on gay and transgender “panic” defense and increase LGBTQ cultural competency trainings and bias trainings for law enforcement offices.
Biden in his own words: Along with the freedom to marry comes the freedom to build a family. No one should be denied the opportunity to become a parent because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Biden in his own words: As president, I will support the Safe Schools Improvement Act, or similar legislation, to address the problem of bullying and harassment of students in public elementary and secondary schools. On my first day in office, I will reinstate the Obama-Biden Administration’s directive interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include gender identity, and not just gender; restore trans students’ access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity; direct my Department of Education to investigate violations of transgender kids’ civil rights; and issue new guidance to schools on how to conduct Title IX sexual assault and harassment investigations. I will reinstate the Obama-Biden guidance requiring federally funded schools to prohibit harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I have also proposed doubling the number of psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in our schools, which will provide additional support to students experiencing bullying and harassment.
Biden in his own words: I have been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights around the world as well as at home, speaking out about the persecution of gay and transgender people in Chechnya, Uganda, Brunei, and elsewhere. There is no excuse--not religion, not culture--for the kind of hatred and violence LGBTQ individuals face in far too many countries around the world. During the Obama-Biden Administration, we made it clear that LGBTQ rights were human rights and led with the power of our example. We appointed officials at senior levels of government, including at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to promote and develop diplomacy and programs to advance protections of LGBTQ individuals. This current administration has undermined that progress by eroding the treatment of LGBTQ Americans at home, signaling a tolerance for abuses by other countries, and failing to defend American diplomats who speak out for LGBTQ rights abroad.
As president, advancing the rights, dignity, and development of LGBTQ people everywhere will once more be a foreign policy priority of the United States. It will be a key piece of our inclusive agenda to protect and promote global human rights.
I will significantly bolster the offices at the State Department and USAID dedicated to promoting global LGBTQ rights. I will appoint senior leaders across the government who will champion global equality, including a point person for LGBTQ rights on the National Security Council to drive a cohesive message and strategy across our engagement with individual countries and regions, a Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQ Persons at the Department of State, and a Special Coordinator in charge of international LGBTQ programming at USAID.
When foreign governments move to restrict LGBTQ rights, fail to enforce legal protections in place, or allow a climate of intolerance, the Biden administration, working with partners, will pursue the most effective strategy to influence that government’s behavior, including private diplomacy, public statements, multilateral initiatives at UN agencies, and direct pressure. A Biden administration will aggressively use pressure tactics, including sanctions (such as Global Magnitsky sanctions and visa bans) to respond to restrictions of human rights, including LGBTQ rights.
Under a Biden Administration, foreign assistance from USAID and the State Department will prioritize strengthening the voice, capacity, and agency of local LGBTQ organizations and activists on the ground. These groups are on the frontlines of the movement to advance the rights of LGBTQ people around the world, and they are essential partners. This is critical to progress and to the safety of those working in the movement on the ground. The Obama-Biden Administration directly supported local LGBTQ civil society groups in countries around the world. As president, Biden will build on that record of support.
My administration will place special emphasis on reaching and serving LGBTQ individuals in its diplomatic and development support efforts. For example, development assistance will be screened and evaluated to ensure it is helping elevate the economic status of the LGBTQ community. Similarly, PEPFAR programming will continue to engage with LGBTQ communities on anti-stigma programs and countering violence and discrimination so that LGBTQ individuals are able to access the health care they need without fearing for their own personal safety and security.
Finally, I will support the GLOBE Act, which will codfiy American support for LGBTQ rights abroad and will aid in addressing discriminiation and violence against these communities wherever it is taking place.
Biden in his own words: I will nominate and appoint federal officials and judges who are committed to equality, and who look like the rest of America, including LGBTQ people.
Biden in his own words: It’s simple: every American who is qualified to serve, should be able to—and we should all be grateful for their service and courage. President Trump’s transgender military ban reversed the June 2016 Obama-Biden Administration policy explicitly allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military. On day one of my presidency, I will direct the Department of Defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly and free from discrimination. I know that this is not just the right thing to do, but it’s in our national interest.
Biden in his own words: I am very supportive of codifying into law Obama-Biden executive orders that protect LGBTQ civil rights. President Obama issued an executive order that prohibited discrimination against federal LGBTQ employees or those working for federal contractors. Passing the Equality Act will ensure that LGBTQ individuals receive civil rights protections in a number of settings, including in employment.
Biden in his own words: Yes, pursuing full LGBTQ equality cannot be a patchwork effort and will require a robust, holistic approach to ensuring all federal laws, institutions, practices, and services ensure that LGBTQ people have access to the same resources and protections as everyone else.
Because of my work on the “It Gets Better” and the “As You Are” campaigns, I understand that too many of our LGBTQ youth are homeless due to intolerance and a lack of acceptance. I will invest in evidence-based programs that work to prevent LGBTQ youth homelessness as well as respond to LGBTQ youth’s specific needs when they are experiencing homelessness -- including by increasing funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, to ensure young LGBTQ individuals have access to transitional living programs that provide essential services like job counseling and mental and physical health care.
I agree with the American Medical Association (AMA)’s assessment that the lifetime ban on blood donation for gay men is “discriminatory and not based on sound science.” Following the AMA’s suggestion, I will move to lift the lifetime ban on blood donation for gay men and work with the Food and Drug Administration to ensure regulations are based on science, not fiction or stigma.
Passing Obamacare was a huge step forward in expanding access to affordable, quality health care - especially for LGBTQ Americans. I have a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate. My plan will ensure every single American has access to affordable, quality health insurance and specifically help LGBTQ Americans by guaranteeing the ACA’s nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community. Before the ACA, insurance companies could increase premiums merely due to someone’s gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Further, insurance companies could increase premiums or deny coverage altogether due to someone’s HIV status. Yet, President Trump is trying to walk back this progress. For example, he has proposed to once again allow health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate based on a patient’s gender identity. I will defend the rights of all people – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity – to have access to quality, affordable health care free from discrimination.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood health centers across the country play an important role in providing affordable, culturally competent care to LGBTQ indivdiuals. I will revoke Trump’s restrictions on Title X of the Public Health Service Act and restore funding to Planned Parenthood, so this vital public health organization can continue providing critical and quality health care to poor and underserved communities, including reproductive health services, cancer screenings, HIV testing, hormone therapies, and general medical care.
Biden in his own words: Democracy is the root of our society, the wellspring of our power, and the source of our renewal. It strengthens and amplifies our leadership to keep us safe in the world. It is the engine of our ingenuity that drives our economic prosperity. It is the heart of who we are and how we see the world—and how the world sees us. That is why America’s ability to be a force for progress in the world and to mobilize collective action starts at home. The United States must lead not just with the example of power, but the power of our example. Among my earliest actions as president will be to restore the Voting Rights Act.
I will also expand access to accurate identification documents. Transgender and non-binary people without accurate identification documents are often exposed to harassment and violence and denied employment, housing, critical public benefits, and even the right to vote. Recognizing the difficulties faced by many transgender individuals, the Obama-Biden State Department updated its gender change policies for passports. As president, I will build on this to ensure all transgender individuals have access to identity documents that accurately reflect their gender identity. I will work to end voter suppression laws, including strict voter ID laws that affect transgender individuals who have identification that doesn’t match their gender identity. I will also support state and federal efforts allowing transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to select “X” as a gender marker on their government-issued identifications, passports, and other documentation.
Biden in his own words: I support protecting and expanding access to reproductive health services, including access to safe and legal abortion care, affordable contraception, preventitive care, protections from pregnant workers, and paid family leave programs. I will reverse the Trump Administration's efforts to undermine access to abortion care, and I will support the work of Planned Parenthood clinics, where many LGBTQ people access sexual and reproductive care, contraception, and STI/HIV prevention and treatment. I support protecting and expanding federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other healthcare clinics that provide abortion care and other critical services.
As president, I will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and my Justice Department will do everything in my power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws, parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements. I support repealing the Hyde Amendment because health care is a right that should not be dependent on one’s zip code or income. And, the public option will cover contraception and a woman’s constitutional right to choose.
Biden in his own words: The Obama-Biden Administration strongly supported the bipartisan comprehensive immigration solution that passed the Senate in 2013 and which would have put our country’s immigration policies on a much stronger footing. As vice president, I championed the creation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program; the Central American Minors program, which allowed parents with legal status in the U.S. to apply to bring their children up from Central America to live with them; and the creation of a White House task force to support new Americans and help them integrate into their new homes and communities. As president, I will finish the work of building a fair and humane immigration system–restoring the progress Trump has cruelly undone and taking it further. I will secure our border, while ensuring the dignity of migrants and upholding their legal right to seek asylum. I will enforce our laws without targeting communities, violating due process, or tearing apart families. I will ensure our values are squarely at the center of our immigration and enforcement policies.
I will work with Congress to pass legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million people who have been living in and strengthening our country for years. As laid out in more detail in my immigration plan, I will:
Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border
End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies
End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border.
Protect DREAMers and their families
Rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as “Muslim bans.”
Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster.
Provide a path to legalization for agricultural workers who have worked for years on U.S. farms and continue to work in agriculture
Increase visas for domestic violence survivors
I will also make sure that LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers have access to necessary services and protections and that federal agencies are trained to identify and respond to the particular needs of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, including expediting services for highly vulnerable populations, like LGBTQ people who may be targeted by violence or are under threat in their home countries. I will invest in proven alternatives to detention and non-profit case management programs, which will support LBGTQ migrants as they navigate their legal obligations and appointments.
Biden in his own words: I have taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the national stage and won – twice. In 1993, I shepherded through Congress the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established the background check system that has since kept more than 3 million firearms out of dangerous hands. In 1994, I – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, I will defeat the NRA again. With the number of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ individuals on the rise, we must enact measures to keep guns out of dangerous hands and keep LGBTQ people safe.
As laid out further in my plan to end gun violence, I will:
Hold gun manufacturers accountable
Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act
Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already in our communities
Reduce stockpiling of weapons
Require background checks for all gun sales
Reinstate the Obama-Biden policy to keep guns out of the hands of certain people unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons, which President Trump reversed
Close the “hate crime loophole.”
Close the “Charleston loophole.”
Close the “fugitive from justice” loophole created by the Trump Administration.
End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions
Create an effective program to ensure individuals who become prohibited from possessing firearms relinquish their weapons
Incentivize state “extreme risk” laws
Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs
Adequately fund the background check system
Biden in his own words: I have long been an advocate for LGBTQ equality in all corners of civil society, from Congress to the White House to my work at the Biden Foundation. In 2001 and 2003, I was an original co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit bias and discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment. At the Biden Foundation, I launched the “As You Are” campaign, which worked toward lifting up the stories of LGBTQ youth and their families, friends, and peers, to encourage and promote a culture of acceptance and support. By working with members of the Biden Foundation’s LGBTQ Advisory Council, including Judy Shepard, Co-Founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, we were able to show LGBTQ youth that there is a world of love and acceptance awaiting them, while also highlighting how damaging it is for LGBTQ youth to grow up in a hostile or intolerant environment. At the Biden Foundation, we also commenced a three-year program with the YMCA of the USA to ensure that specific YMCA locations were developing and implementing LGBTQ-friendly policies and strategies. I also helped launch the Advancing Acceptance campaign, in collaboration with the Movement Advancement Project and Gender Spectrum, which specifically highlighted how important it was for transgender and gender-nonconformation youth to be accepted by their families.
In addition to the aforementioned measures the Obama-Biden Administration took to advance LGBTQ equality, I proudly helped lead other pro-equality efforts from the White House, including collaborating with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal offices to provide anti-bullying resources and support to LGBTQ youth. At the inaugural White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, we also helped film a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign. And, we helped provide support and resources for older LGBTQ individuals through the Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) resource program. The Administration also ensured that hospitals receiving federal funding allow full visitation rights for LGBTQ patients and their families.
The Administration also worked extensively with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that LGBTQ individuals were not discriminated against and received full and fair access to housing support. In addition to codifying a series of anti-discrimination rules, the administration established the “True Colors Fund,” an initiative which worked to support LGBTQ youth from becoming homeless.
The Administration designated as historic landmarks the Henry Gerber House in Chicago, IL -- the site where the country’s first LGBTQ rights organization’s (Society for Human Rights) charter was drawn in 1924 -- and the Stonewall National Monument -- the site where the community’s response to a police raid began the modern LGBT civil rights movement, part of nine LGBTQ historic landmarks designated during the administration.
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