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Joe Biden Includes LGBTQ+ Community in First Speech as President-Elect

Joe Biden as President-Elect giving speech

After news spread that former Vice President Joe Biden had won Pennsylvania (and later Nevada,) becoming the President-Elect, Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris made their first official speeches at an event in Wilmington, Delaware Saturday. After Harris spoke, Biden took to the stage to give a sweeping speech, acknowledging the large coalition his campaign built, pledging to be a president for all, and promising to begin addressing the ongoing pandemic as early as Monday.

"Folks the people of this nation have spoken," he began. "They delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people. We've won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of the nation: 74 million."

In the speech, Biden said that his win came as a result of building an inclusive coalition of supporters of which he was proud. "The broadest and most diverse coalition in history," he called it. "Democrats, Republicans, Independents, progressive, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.

"I mean it," he continued. "Especially those moments when this campaign was at its lowest and the African American community stood up again for me. You've always had my back and I'll have yours."

The remark is believed to be the first time that the trans community was mentioned in an acceptance speech by a president-elect. It takes a step beyond Barack Obama's 2008 speech which was the first time a president-elect mentioned the gay community. Biden went back to that well later saying "We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability." Identity is likely a reference to gender identity.

"I said at the outset I wanted this campaign to represent and look like America," Biden said. "I've done that. Now I want the administration to look like and act like that." The Biden-Harris ticket has been lauded for its diversity. Moving into the transition process, some queer staffers have already been announced like Pete Buttigieg who will be on the White House transition team and Karine Jean-Pierre who will be Kamala Harris's chief of staff. There haven't been announcements about whether others like Olivia Raisner, Reggie Greer, and Jamal Brown, who are all members of the LGBTQ+ community and served in various roles in the campaign, will also join the administration or transition team in some capacity.

"Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now," he said to those gathered in Wilmington, his hometown. He also said that beginning Monday he would appoint a team of scientists and experts to the the Biden-Harris plan for addressing the ongoing pandemic into an actionable blueprint. He stressed that he sees getting control of the virus as one of his top priorities for the country. They will put that plan into action on January 20, 2021, the day of his inauguration.

Biden has made a slew of promises for his first 100 days on the campaign but of them, he promised to push forward the Equality Act which has stalled in a Republican-controlled Senate. If passed, the set of legislation could add legal protections for the LGBTQ+ community in various aspects of life. Whether or not Republicans will maintain control of the Senate will be determined in a set of runoff elections in Georgia slated for January 5.

RELATED | Rainbow Wave 2020: LGBTQ+ Candidates Who Won on Election Night

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