Joe Biden Is First President Elect in History to Acknowledge Transgender Americans in Victory Speech
It’s been 4 years of absolute turmoil for the Transgender community.
President Elect Joe Biden took to the podium in Delaware after a long an arduous election to accept victory in the US Presidential election, narrowly defeating incumbent Donald Trump. The Trump administration has launch a four years long war against LGBTQ Americans, with Transgender people finding ourselves directly in the crosshairs of his administration. From midnight tweets banning Trans people from the military, labeling them “Distractions” and “Burdens” to leveraging Religious Freedom to allow healthcare providers to legally discriminate against sick LGBTQ people in need of care; From challenging our inclusion in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to petitioning the Supreme Court to allow Federal contractors to refuse spousal benefits to same-sex employees we have been forced to dodge the arrows launched from his bough for nearly half a decade.
Thanking the country for electing him to the most powerful seat in the Nation in an election that saw more votes submitted than ever before in history, Transgender Americans did not expect to be acknowledged in his acceptance speech, so it was a startling first from a Man who has sworn to serve as a President to all, vowing to undo the dangerous rhetoric and insurmountable damage that has divided the nation as a result of Trump’s win in 2016.
In an inspiring, uncontentious speech that focused on policy, unity and forgiveness, Biden urged opposing voters and supporters alike to “Give each other a chance.” This is a sharp contrast to Trump, who has sewn tremendous ire toward his opposition and non-supporters. As where Trump pledged to serve his base, he often sought revenge on the other half of America, including Republicans in Congress and Senate that decried his ruthless conduct, as well as those in the general public, the media, those in the fields of Science that disagreed with him and many allied world leaders who he openly mocked and criticized frequently before his social media audience.
In the Trump circus, vital issues were left unaddressed that impacted the most vulnerable of our communities. Communities of color suffered a narrowed pathway to education equality, healthcare resources and voting access. The Equality Act, passed the United States House of Representatives on May 17, 2019, was left to die on the Senate floor. He weaponized the poor ad disenfranchised to stoke fear and contempt, threatening those resided in wealthier neighborhoods that the minorities and economically underprivileged those people would “invade their suburbs” and “bring down their property values.”
He spent four years demonizing those of us who needed help the most.
He spent four years fanning the flames of racial injustice and division.
He spent four years using our human rights as negotiating pawns with religious zealots.
He spent four years making fun of and dehumanizing the disabled, black athletes, women journalists of diverse ethnicities and nationalities, peddling conspiracy theories and threatening the safety and stability of millions of Americans who fell outside his acceptability standard. He chastised those who didn’t prostrate themselves to him but praised violent foreign dictators. He attacked a 14 year old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, but praised his 17 year old supporter who crossed state lines to murder peaceful protesters.
It was a surreal, dystopian four years that history will look back upon in shame.
But, as we near the other side of it, there is hope.
Joe Biden and our first woman Vice President Elect- our First Black and Indian-American Vice President Elect forged a new path. In their respective speeches, they acknowledge the efforts of the very communities that Trump had neglected and demonized and made us feel seen- they acknowledged we are here.
And that gesture, no matter how small in the grand scale of the moment while the entire world was watching, was a shift for all of us who felt as though, for the first time in so long, we could finally exhale.