We will get the Equality Act

Last March, during the Democratic presidential primary race, Joe Biden released an ambitious plan to advance LGBTQ+ rights, but at the time it was unclear what he would realistically be able to accomplish if elected with a Republican-controlled Senate. But now that Democrats will narrowly control Congress and the White House for the first time since 2011, many of Biden’s LGBTQ proposals appear much more achievable.

In May 2019, the Democrat-controlled House passed the Equality Act, a sweeping bill that would grant LGBTQ people federal protections from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, education, public space, public funding and jury service. The legislation, however, was never given a vote in the Republican-led Senate.

“With Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate, there was no chance we would ever get a vote on any of our stuff,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Trans Equality, said of pro-LGBTQ legislation.

With McConnell, R-Ky., in a minority leader role, the bill faces fewer barriers.

“The opportunity that we have to pass the Equality Act is better now than it’s ever been before,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. “This should be a part of our civil rights laws.”

In Joe Biden’s plan to “advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world,” which is on his campaign website, the president said he “believes every transgender or non-binary person should have the option of changing their gender marker to ‘M,’ ‘F,’ or ‘X’ on government identifications, passports, and other documentation.” As a result, he vowed to support state and federal efforts that permit trans people to have IDs that accurately reflect their gender identity.

Advocates expect Biden to deliver on his promises of immediately undoing Trump policies that targeted LGBTQ people with executive orders or new guidelines.

“The past four years has resulted in an onslaught of attacks against the LGBTQ community,” David said, citing as examples the administration’s push to allow women’s homeless shelters to turn away transgender women and health care providers to refuse service to LGBTQ people during a pandemic.

via NBC News