Joe Biden’s senior LGBT+ advisor explains White House’s approach to getting the Equality Act passed
Joe Biden’s senior LGBT+ advisor Reggie Greer has said the White House is focused on “educating people” to get the landmark Equality Act passed into law.
Greer was appointed the director of priority placement and a senior advisor on LGBTQ engagement for the Biden administration in March. He has helped build Biden’s LGBT+ elected officials network and the administration’s candidate training, which encouraged LGBT+ people to run for office.
As part of his work, Greer has worked to ensure that LGBT+ people have a voice in the White House, which he says has been crucial in the administration’s work to get the Equality Act passed. He told LGBTQ Nation that queer stories are the “best tool that any of us have, having people understand what happens to an LGBTQ person”.
The interview touched upon the Equality Act, the passage of which was a key promise of the Biden-Harris campaign. The landmark civil rights bill would outlaw discrimination against LGBT+ people in the US, amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, public education and several other areas.
The US House of Representatives voted 224-206 in February to pass the sweeping legislation, mostly along partisan lines. But the bill has stalled in the Senate, where its fate is unclear as Democrats and Republicans are evenly divided.
Reggie Greer told LGBTQ Nation it was “too early” to discuss “scenarios” of how the bill could move forward. He explained the Biden administration is “educating people” on the lived experiences of LGBT+ people in the US and the “core tenants of the bill”.
“Just having people understand that [acts of anti-LGBT+ discrimination] are sometimes daily occurrences for members of our community is the approach here,” he explained. “I want people to understand that this shouldn’t happen in the United States of America to anybody, that this is still happening to LGBTQ+ people.”
Greer continued: “Once we’re able to share those stories, people are able to reiterate their support for not seeing this happen.”
He added that the historic appointments of LGBT+ people across the Biden administration – like Dr Rachel Levine, Pete Buttigieg and Karine Jean-Pierre – is a “testament to just how strongly president Biden feels about having members of the LGBTQ+ community serving alongside him”.
“There are many more of us,” Reggie Greer said. “On the teams that I am able to work with, you find people who identify across the entire community, who are working on issues that are directly impacting the LGBTQ+ community, in some roles that historically haven’t had LGBTQ+ people serving in them.”