From his public support of marriage equality as Vice President, to being the first-ever president-elect to acknowledge the transgender community in a victory speech, President Biden knows how to be on the right and just side of history. As the oldest president to take office, he also shares both our elders’ wisdom and experiences in the face of an ageist society. Similarly, Vice President Harris has been a leader for fairness while also enduring deplorable racism as the country’s first Black woman of Indian descent to assume her role. At SAGE, we celebrate this historic day and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ monumental victories in assuming the leadership of our nation’s executive branch, and we look forward to working with the administration to tackle the many challenges that lie ahead.
With more than 350,000 Americans dead from the COVID-19 pandemic – the majority of whom are 65 and older – a devastated economy, and a renewed fight for racial equity in the face of rising white supremacist violence, the Biden-Harris administration enters the White House at a time requiring swift, courageous action. Older Americans are also threatened by the crippling dual pandemics of financial insecurity and isolation. This is especially true for LGBTQ+ and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) elders, who are subjected to discrimination and multiple forms of violence. As the recent deadly attack on the U.S. Congress reminds us, violent forces of extreme-right hatred are on the rise in this country. BIPOC, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people are especially at risk. Protecting them and championing their rights must be a consistent priority for the new administration.
SAGE is well prepared to help and pledges to partner with the Biden-Harris administration to usher in change to address the injustice and bring positive, proactive change. SAGE must – and will – ensure that LGBTQ+ elders are seen and heard. To that end, we must undo the previous administration’s policies that attacked LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, communities of color, and other marginalized communities.
Specifically, as we approach the first anniversary of the passage of the LGBTQ+-inclusive reauthorization of the Older Americans Act – the only piece of LGBTQ+-inclusive legislation to become law under the Trump administration – the Biden-Harris administration must prioritize its implementation. LGBTQ+ elders have waited long enough to see this change come to fruition. We look forward to partnering with the new administration to ensure that federally-funded community services are equally and equitably available to LGBTQ+ elders in every city and town in this country, ensuring that the federal government fulfills its responsibility to all older Americans.
Our country’s leaders should draw inspiration from the overwhelming resilience of our elders. These are challenging times to assume the Presidency and Vice Presidency. But as our LGBTQ+ elders have continually proven – over this past year and in the decades of struggle they have traversed since the Stonewall Uprising – success requires endless determination and a relentless commitment to fairness and equity for all people in this country. Over the next four years of the Biden-Harris administration, SAGE pledges to do all within our power to ensure that the federal government is held accountable for these commitments and that LGBTQ+ elders and elders from all diverse communities are at the center of progress toward a dramatically more just and equitable society.