If you are closeted or questioning, vote for Joe Biden

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Each week, we ask a question to our readers on social media. Lately, all the questions have been about the election because it’s the most important thing happening for the LGBTQ community in Philly and across the country. From the Presidential race to Congress to the State House, the result of this election will determine what rights the LGBTQ community is granted and what rights could be taken away.

This week we asked the question “How and when are you planning to vote?” The responses we received were as expected. A majority of people who responded said they are voting by mail and will send in their ballots either by mail or by putting them in a drop box. Many had already sent their ballots in. Some people said they plan to vote in person on election day, and some said they plan to utilize the city’s satellite election offices at some point.

The people who responded to PGN’s question are PGN readers who aren’t afraid to make their opinions known. But it’s safe to say that PGN also has readers who aren’t able to voice their opinions publicly. They might be in the closet, or they might be out to themselves and a select few people but unable to be very open in front of family or their community. And it’s just as important that PGN reach those readers as well. So, to those people in the closet, those questioning their sexuality, those who have to hide who they are for fear of ostracization or harassment, we see you. And we hope that you also have plans to vote this year, if you haven’t voted already.

It brings up a question that hasn’t been addressed much: what candidate would be better for people questioning their sexuality and people in the closet? Moreover, what candidate would create an environment that fosters openness, acceptance, and understanding to help people come out of the closet? It shouldn’t require much thought. In fact, it shouldn’t require any. It’s Joe Biden.

Biden has been an ally to the LGBTQ community since before his time serving as Barack Obama’s Vice President, and his pro-LGBTQ action as Vice President speaks for itself. Now, he has a diverse group of LGBTQ people serving in all levels of his campaign, from volunteers to surrogates to Kamala’s chief of staff.

But it’s not just his record on LGBTQ rights that makes him the best candidate for those looking to come out. It’s the fact that he understands the power of empathy and what it means to truly empathize with people. He understands how to connect with people who have different experiences from him. And he accepts the experiences of others as valid, even if he hasn’t had the same experience himself. He is a stark contrast to the alternative, who isn’t worth the space in this column.

People stay in the closet because they’re afraid of what the truth might lead to: a loss of family or friends, loss of a job, loss of respect in the community. But also, people stay in the closet because they’re afraid to accept what the truth says about them. They’re afraid to be different. Fortunately, we have a candidate who embraces our differences and believes our differences are what make our country strong. And with hard work, we can help elect that candidate President of the United States.