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Biden Promises to Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights in Latest State of the Union Address

President Joe Biden stands in front of a microphone at a lecturn wearning a blue tie. Behind him, Vice President Kamala Harris stands clapping. In the background hangs a large American flag.

(Photo by Shawn Thew via Reuters)

President Joe Biden delivered his third State of the Union address from the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday night. This annual speech reports on the nation’s progress over the last year. It also indicates what the president plans to prioritize in the year to come.

Setting the Stage

As he began the 2024 address, Biden declared, “Not since President Lincoln and the Civil War have freedom and democracy been under assault at home as they are today.” The president proceeded to explain this stance, touching on rising healthcare costs, the end of Roe vs. Wade, uncertainties about the future of IVF, inequities within our economy, the immigration crises at the southern border, and the exorbitant cost of housing. Then, he turned his attention to the rights of America’s residents.

Biden urged Congress to do more to protect these rights. “And stop — stop denying another core value of America: our diversity across American life. Banning books is wrong. Instead of erasing history, let’s make history. I want to protect fundamental rights. Pass the Equality Act. And my message to transgender Americans: I have your back,” said Biden

Biden’s call to celebrate American diversity is a major component of his campaign for a second presidential term. Realistically, Biden will never please all of us. However, his address attempts to prove that he is a solid choice for those of us feeling threatened by the increase in conservative policies sweeping the nation.

Standing With the LGBTQ+ Community

The mention of book bans and classroom history revisions specifically addresses marginalized communities and those who hold intersectional identities. Biden continued to acknowledge the connected nature of diversity as he moved to mention the Equality Act.

The Equality Act would provide comprehensive protections against discrimination for all LGBTQ+ Americans. It prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. These protections would extend to public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. The bill has passed twice in the House. However, it stalled both times in the Senate, which is led by Senator Mitch McConnell. Biden has used all three of his State of the Union addresses to encourage the passing of the Act.

Thursday’s statements fall in line with Biden’s history of acknowledging the specific struggles of the trans community during the State of the Union addresses. At his first address in 2022, Biden said, “For our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is simply wrong. As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential.”

He again pointed out the additional obstacles of the trans community in his 2023 address. “Here in the People’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms… Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it. Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity,” said Biden.

The 2024 Election

The 2024 election will almost certainly result in a rematch between President Biden and former President Donald Trump. Trump has taken a much different stance on LGBTQ+ rights than his opponent. In a video posted to his Truth Social platform in January, Trump vowed to punish doctors providing gender-affirming care to minors. According to NBC, Trump elaborated, saying he would prohibit federal agencies from working to “promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age,” not just for minors. Trump also promised to push schools to “promote positive education about the nuclear family” and “the roles of mothers and fathers.”




Sondra Rose Marie
Sondra Rose Marie
Sondra Rose Marie Morris (she/her) is a memoirist, journalist, and entrepreneur. Her words covering mental health, racism, death, and sexuality can be found in ZORA, Human Parts, Dope Cause We Said, The Q26, and on Medium. As of 2024, Sondra is the owner and Editor in Chief for Tagg Magazine. Follow her adventures on Instagram @SondraWritesStuff or Twitter @sondrarosemarie.