Joe Biden has won the presidential election after edging an entire nation. Here’s what it means for LGBT+ rights

President-elect Joe Biden. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Joe Biden, the plucky pro-LGBT+ moderate who presented a vision of an America unified and its people equal, is no longer a “former vice president”.

He is now president-elect, soon to be the 46th president of the United States.

The path was packed with roadblocks – Republicans seeking to skew or suppress votes and a pandemic that only amped up the chaos even further – but the election was called in his favour Saturday (7 November).

Biden has tentatively won the electoral college with 46 states declared, equating to 273 votes for Biden compared to 214 votes for Donald Trump, for whom Biden sought to show was a danger to not only the country’s founding creed but the very soul of the nation itself.

Despite a few bruising losses, he passed the 270 electoral votes needed after Pennsylvania was called, becoming the first challenger in 28 years to unseat an incumbent president. Several other states are still counting ballots showing a Biden lead, which could even further cement his victory.

Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Alaska are still tabulating votes and have not called a winner at the time of writing. But by bagging Pennsylvania, Biden has blocked Trump’s path to re-election.

It was the aching culmination of a drawn-out election in which two bitter campaigns were paralysed by the slow trickle of ballot-counting strained by the pandemic.

While the stunning repudiation of Trump – the fabled “Blue wave” – failed to shore up, a Biden win remained in striking distance throughout. He edged the entire nation for three days until he finally flipped various battleground swing states, including once sturdy Republican strongholds such as Wisconsin and Michigan.

It was not the only way his triumph made history – with running-mate Kamala Harris becoming the first Black, Asian-American and female vice president.

Joe Biden will champion LGBT+ rights.

With Biden’s victory secured, even as a legal war levelled by Trump looms, comes a rare and welcomed moment of peace for thousands of queer Americans.

LGBT+ rights, trans peoples’ in particular, have been throttled throughout the four long years of the blistering Trump administration.

And president-elect Joe Biden is out to change that.

The Joe Biden LGBT+ action plan flexes an acute awareness of the damage inflicted to LGBT+ by Trump officials, and exactly what needs to be done to restore them.

It begins with the Equality Act, the bedrock of anti-discrimination law.

With half of US states lacking in civil rights protections, he repeatedly pledged to sign the legislation within his first 100 days as president to enshrine sweeping anti-discrimination law across employment, public education, housing and more.

He’s committed to making administration more reflective of America – and that includes LGBT+ people.

LGBT+ rights were a plank of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris campaign pledges. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

LGBT+ rights were a plank of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign pledges. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Biden promised to do more to support LGBT+ youth by tackling soaring homelessness rates and increasing accessible campus and school facilities for trans teens.

On LGBT+ violence, Biden looked to his biography of authoring the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 to assure LGBT+ voters his administration will work to reduce rates of brutality, notably towards trans women of colour.

Rolling back Trump’s ban on trans troops serving in the military was also stated, alongside promising workplace training programs to aid trans and non-binary people.

Other pledges ranged from expanding access to high-quality health care and ensuring LGBT+ individuals are treated fairly in the criminal justice system.

Biden also said he would work to collate more federal data on LGBT+ people to help lawmakers better understand the queer population they serve, such as by including questions on sexual orientation and gender identity on national surveys.

And seeking to continue the legacy of the Obama-Biden administration, he pledged to carry on the advancement of global LGBT+ rights.

It’s a laundry list of promises that activists, as worn-down as they might be from Trump, will no doubt be keeping sure that Biden stays true to.

“A Biden-Harris administration will consider every tool available to reverse Trump’s damaging policies and restore and advance critical protections, equality and equity for the LGBTQ+ community,” Reggie Greer, LGBTQ+ vote director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to The 19th.

“When the history books are written, I am certain that advancing LGBTQ+ equality will be one of the Biden-Harris administration’s top achievements.”