GLAAD reacts to the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President & Vice President of the United States and their first executive actions for LGBTQ equity

By GLAAD |
January 20, 2021

GLAAD today commemorates the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

GLAAD has released a video of LGBTQ Americans celebrating the inauguration. The video incorporates trans singer Shea Diamond and her anthem “I Am America.”

“I am America. Yo soy America! I am your neighbor, your co-worker, your friend, your family. I am an LGBTQ American and I am fighting to keep you healthy. I am fighting for a country that uplifts racial justice. Protects transgender Americans. Provides access to the American dream. I am an LGBTQ American and I am working. I am working to educate your family. Working to make America brighter. Kinder. And better. I am an LGBTQ American and I am powerful. Together. We are America. This is how America walks. How America talks. This is how America is. LGBTQ Americans and allies unite to honor the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Let’s advance LGBTQ equality and acceptance together.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also released the following statement:

“Today is a new page in history for our country and the LGBTQ community as a place where all belong, all can be safe and all can succeed. The Biden-Harris administration is already making historic strides for LGBTQ Americans, with a Cabinet and staff that include a record number of LGBTQ people, and executive orders enacted on day one that commit to federal workplaces free of discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. Discrimination, systemic racism and the negative policies and attacks by the previous administration created conditions for the pandemic and economic crisis to disproportionately impact the LGBTQ community and queer people of color. The time has never been more urgent to take bold steps for equality to lift and heal all Americans. GLAAD urges swift action including the reversal of the ban on transgender Americans in the military and for Congress to pass and President Biden to sign The Equality Act into law to provide comprehensive protections from discrimination for every LGBTQ person across the country. GLAAD research shows overwhelming support from Americans of all backgrounds in favor of laws that protect LGBTQ people. We have every expectation the new Congress and President will align those core values with laws to secure them, and center equality and justice for all.”

Biden executive orders

This morning, the Biden-Harris transition team announced executive actions to be implemented on Day One, including actions to support and protect Americans, including ensuring federal workers wear masks and follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves from COVID-19, and pausing eviction and foreclosures. Several orders address President Biden’s equity agenda to advance racial justice and rebuild underserved communities, including people of color, Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities and rural and urban communities facing persistent poverty.

The Biden administration promises “steps to prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and revoke President Trump’s damaging executive order which limited critical diversity and inclusion training in the workplace.”

LGBTQ appointments in the Biden administration

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis today wrote an op-ed for Variety (“LGBTQ Support and Visibility Will Return During the Biden-Harris Administration After Trump’s Disastrous Policies”) noting some of the Biden Administration’s LGBTQ appointments: “During this Inauguration Day we are set to see the most diverse administration ever sworn in. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the first out nominee for Transportation Secretary or any cabinet position. Pili Tobar and Karine Jean-Pierre, both lesbian women of color, will become the first out LGBTQ members of the White House Communications staff, and the team will be made up of all women for the first-time ever. Veteran LGBTQ advocate Gautam Raghavan has been appointed Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel and Carlos Elizondo, a gay man, was named White House Social Secretary. And, earlier this week, the Biden Administration nominated Pennsylvania health expert Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary for health in the department of Health and Human Services, in a move that will make Dr. Levine the first transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

GLAAD also tweeted remarks from President Biden’s nominees for Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in support of a LGBTQ envoy or ambassador and to lift the discriminatory ban on military service for transgender Americans.

Additional research:

GLAAD’s post-election poll found 93% of LGBTQ respondents voted in the 2020 election, with 25% of those voting for the first time. 81% went for President-elect Biden. The top issues for LGBTQ voters are: the COVID-19 response, healthcare, racial justice and LGBTQ equality.

The Washington Post reported that LGBT voters helped tilt Georgia and other key battleground states for President-elect Biden: “Had LGBT voters stayed home, Trump might well have won the 2020 election.”

GLAAD's latest Accelerating Acceptance survey shows up to 91% of Americans believe discrimination against LGBTQ people should be illegal:

PRRI data shows a majority of Americans in all parties and faith groups support anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ people.