Biden certainly made a large number of promises to the LGBTQ community. We expect him to move fast to pass an Equality Act. He’s also expected to focus on the worldwide community as well, which has undeniably faltered under President Trump’s leadership (or lack thereof). Although a Biden presidency is certainly cause for the community to rejoice, some LGBTQ groups are more skeptical than not.
Biden supported a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. He did not support Trump’s ban of trans folk serving, nor did he support Trump’s dozens of other rollbacks and Obama-era policy reversals.
Pittsburgh Equality Center Acting Chair Patrick Zabasnik said, “There’s a lot of happiness, obviously, a celebration, but I think there are some reservations.”
Those reservations are based on pragmatism. Overturning Trump’s policies is not as simple as waving a wand and having it done. This is especially true when the hope is to utilize federal law to supersede those more relaxed laws at the state level — which is more difficult to do with Republicans in positions of power. Now that Democrats have won control of the Senate, Biden supporters hope the transition to fair laws will be more rapid.
Zabasnik added, “ Part of that Equality Act entails looking at mental health and health care resources and rural areas and housing for seniors. But also even I think for people who are who identify as transgender or non-binary having identification documents that are matching how they present and who they are specifically.”
The Equality Act actually already passed through the Democrat-controlled House last year. The Senate has yet to take it up, more than likely because Bill-Killer McConnell hasn’t allowed a vote (which is a matter of his purview as Majority Leader, a position he is set to lose when the new administration comes to power on January 20).
Others admit that any president’s power might be considered great but it is limited all the same.
Executive Director of Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation Sarah Rosso said, “Biden’s reach is going to be somewhat limited in the executive branch. We hope that we don’t see any rollback of marriage protections or other equity pieces that we’ve won.”