CLEVELAND — During the past four years, many LGBTQ people lived in fear, according to Harry Hawkins, the assistant director of the LGBTQ Center at Case Western Reserve University.
What You Need To Know
- Many LGBTQ rights were taken away or threatened under the Trump administration
- Based on recent official statements, the Biden administration has signaled intent to reverse course
- President Joe Biden's campaign website includes a plan to “advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world"
- LGBTQ activists are hopeful for the LGBTQ community
“The terror that students faced every day, not knowing is this week, our turn? Whose turn is it to be on the chopping block this week?” said Hawkins.
Rollbacks in rights under the Trump administration included a ban of transgender people from serving in the military and the permission of taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
According to President Joe Biden's campaign website, his administration has plans to “advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world.”
“I think the administration, so far, has put some good signals out there and has let us know that maybe these things were not the priorities of the Trump administration, but they are going to be the priorities of the Biden administration,” said Hawkins. “And that, it should have people feeling a little more hopeful today and we will see there's history to be written.”
Historic cabinet picks, like Dr. Rachel Levine, who is openly transgender, pave the way for more diversity at the federal level, and Biden has plans to soon reverse the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military as said in a statement from House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“When we agree that there's problems that we need to address, such as LGBTQ people and removing those barriers so they can thrive, I don't think that should be a party discussion at all,” Hawkins said. “I think we all should be involved in that conversation and trying to better one another, because when we all thrive, our country is better.”
Advocacy groups, like the Human Rights Campaign, are already working to help the Biden Administration progress LGBTQ rights, said the HRC Ohio director Shawn Copeland.
“Once it was known that Biden was going to be the president-elect, HRC worked to draft the 85 blueprint for change document, which was a series of 85 executive orders that can be administered through the office of the president that would roll back some of the harmful attacks that we saw from the Trump-Pence administration against the LGBTQ folks,” said Copeland.
The Biden Administration is met with the most diverse members of Congress yet. With 11 openly-LGBTQ members, many of Biden’s LGBTQ proposals appear more achievable.
Copeland is hopeful as he said the American people are diverse, and the leaders should reflect that.
“The Biden administration is one of the most diverse and representative administrations in American history, and our government governs best when it is actually reflective of its citizens,” said Copeland.