Out for Biden-Harris: Re-election campaign hopes to mobilize LGBTQ+ voters

From left, state rep. hopeful Andre Carroll and City Councilmember Rue Landau with State Senator Sharif Street.
From left, state rep. hopeful Andre Carroll and City Councilmember Rue Landau with State Senator Sharif Street, who also serves as Chairman of the PA Democratic Party. (Photo: Courtesy of Out for Biden-Harris)

With less than seven months until election day, Democratic leaders launched the Out for Biden-Harris initiative — a national movement that aims to inspire and train LGBTQ+ voters to become an active part of campaign efforts. Philadelphia was one of multiple cities to kick-off the initiative with a happy hour on April 10 at Tavern on Camac hosted by City Councilmember Rue Landau and state rep hopeful Andre Carroll.

“It was a packed room of people who support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Landau said about the event. “But they also are supporting everything that our Democratic ticket believes in.”

During the 2020 campaign, nearly 11,000 LGBTQ+ voters organized to promote the Biden-Harris ticket. This new initiative hopes to re-engage those previously excited voters and equip new community leaders — including drag queens and LGBTQ+ faith leaders — to reach new potential voters. The campaign estimates that 8% of voters openly identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.

As a swing state, Pennsylvania is a major battleground every election, and both candidates will spend significant time here. Trump has already made an appearance before returning to New York to stand criminal trial for falsifying business records. Biden visited Pennsylvania earlier this month to promote his plans for a second attempt at student debt relief. On April 16, he returned to begin a three-day tour across the commonwealth where he addressed economic concerns. 

“There’s so much at stake for the LGBTQ+ community — for our families, our freedoms, our futures,” she continued. Landau noted that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has often taken anti-LGBTQ+ stances, has stated that LGBTQ+ rights — including rights to marry — should be reconsidered. She expressed fear that these freedoms and other civil rights could be revoked if Biden is not re-elected.

Former President Donald Trump has noted several actions he would take to eliminate rights for LGBTQ+ people if he were to win the upcoming presidential election — signing executive orders that align with plans listed in Project 2025, a right-wing blueprint that details the specific steps Republicans take to restrict LGBTQ+ rights. Some actions include reinstating a trans military service ban, limiting protections from workplace discrimination, rescinding healthcare access for trans patients, refusing to recognize queer marriages, removing initiatives that safeguard DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) efforts, and strike certain language related to diversity from use in White House documents or legislation. 

“When we go to the ballot box in November, it’s important to remember that there is a clear record of who these two individuals are,” Carroll noted about the two former presidents who are seeking re-election. “There’s only one choice. The data is really clear about who will stand up for this community.”

Biden has received endorsements from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign — which has been tracking his work on LGBTQ+ issues. This includes consistently supporting LGBTQ+ people in his addresses to the nation, promoting legislation that protects marginalized people — including youth, and combating the spread of queerphobic misinformation.

But LGBTQ+ voters are not single-issue voters, Carroll underlined, explaining that he also appreciates Biden’s approach to student debt relief — which has “haunted” young voters like him for decades. He and Landau noted that voters should pay attention to policies related to health care, housing and homelessness, unemployment, and other topics that are not queer-specific but have a substantial impact on LGBTQ+ people.

Approximately 20% of people ages 18-25 openly identify as LGBTQ+ people. A recent study released by GLAAD estimates that 94% of LGBTQ+ voters are highly motivated to vote, but some young voters are conflicted. Many have noted their disappointment in Biden’s support of Israel during the ongoing military campaign in Gaza.

“As a queer, Jewish voter who supports a ceasefire, I understand the concern. I also understand that things will be far worse for the people of Gaza and for international relations with Trump as president,” Landau said, underlining Trump’s track record of racism and fear-mongering — including a ban on Muslim travelers early in his presidency.

Some have explained that their feelings of discontent and lack of enthusiasm run deeper than the current war, and young voters in Pennsylvania remain undecided about whether or not they’ll cast a ballot in November.

“This is about making sure that our community has the opportunity to be heard and be seen,” said Carroll, underlining that LGBTQ+ people can join the movement to work together on the policies and issues that concern them and raise their voices together.

“This coalition is so important,” added Landau, “because we’re harnessing all of the power from our community to ensure that we are electing the people who will protect us, support us and lift us up for the next four years. The alternative is not an option.”

Newsletter Sign-up