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Joe Biden finally releases his LGBT+ action plan and receives crucial backing from Dustin Lance Black

Josh Milton March 6, 2020
Dustin Lance Black (R) has endorsed Joe Biden, citing his growth on LGBT+ advocacy as a crucial reason. (Alberto E. Rodrigu(Scott Olson/Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

Dustin Lance Black (R) has endorsed Joe Biden, citing his growth on LGBT+ advocacy as a crucial reason. (Alberto E. Rodrigu(Scott Olson/Getty Images/Alberto E. Rodriguez)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, bolstered by a bulky Super Tuesday win, is hoping to net LGBT+ voters loyal to Bernie Sanders by launching a 17-page action plan.

While the former vice president has found himself fending off questions about his decades-long track record on LGBT+ rights in the past – often during testy television debates – his attempt to rebrand into a progressive moderate comes as the race to unseat US president Donald Trump forked into he and democratic socialist Sanders.

Echoing similar plans from Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, the lengthy policy proposal even drew the lawmaker a critical endorsement from gay filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, the Advocate reported Thursday.

What does Joe Biden LGBT+ action plan look like?

Threaded with quotes from the politician’s past, Joe Biden’s approach to equality is a seven-pronged attack against the Trump administration which has, activists argue, rescinded and threatened many core progressive values.

With half of US states lacking in civil rights protections, the plan said, Biden pledged his cabinet would enact the Equality Act within 100 days of office. Moreover, Biden promised to do more to support LGBT+ youth by tackling soaring homelessness rates and increasing accessible campus and school facilities for trans teens.

After an avalanche of delegate votes, Joe Biden has emerged as both a front-runner and a standard-bearer for the centrist wing of the Democrats. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
After an avalanche of delegate votes, Joe Biden has emerged as both a front-runner and a standard-bearer for the centrist wing of the Democrats. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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.

Dustin Lance Black: ‘Is Biden perfect? Absolutely not.’

Political fortunes can certainly be raised by key endorsements. Bernie Sanders – where four out of 10 LGBT+ voters support – both has a sturdy history of LGBT+ advocacy and furious opposition to oppressive regimes.

Black told the Advocate in an interview published Friday that Biden being an early supporter for marriage – before even Barack Obama himself – cemented his endorsement.

“I’m all for big dreams and big ideas,” Black explained. “I know there’s another candidate in this race who has big ideas. But Biden has the ability to create the alliances that are necessary.”

Writer Dustin Lance Black (R) and Tom Daley. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for 2018 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony )

In discussing Biden’s spotty history on LGBT+ rights – such as when he supported 1996 anti-marriage legislation and the 1993 ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy – Black had one thing to say.

“Has Joe Biden been perfect?” he said, “absolutely not.”

It remains unknown how Black’s backing of Biden will impact his appeal to the LGBT+ voting bloc, long a reliable indicator for Democrats. From buying a round of beers at Stonewall to the release of the action plan Thursday, Biden is determined to reshape his wet newspaper-haired septuagenarian image.

But after progressive hopeful Elizabeth Sanders suspended her candidacy Thursday – 20 per cent of LGBT+ Americans voted for her –

Moreover, it remains unknown whether anyone even knows that Haiwaiaan senator Tulsi Gabbard is still in the running.

More: 2020 democratic nomination, dustin lance black, joe biden, Pete Buttigieg, tom daley

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