In the 2020 presidential election, LGBTQ voters were a key factor in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' victory over President Donald Trump. According to Andrew Flores, an assistant professor of government at American University and a visiting scholar at UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute (a research center specializing in sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy), LGBTQ voters made up a record percentage of this year's electorate. "Regardless of what source you examine, turnout among LGBT voters was either way up, or a larger share of the electorate identified as LGBT than is prior years," he tells Billboard. "Estimates of 2020 suggest that 8 to 11 percent of voters identified as LGBT, far higher than prior years where it was 3 to 5 percent."
Christy Mallory, the legal director at UCLA's Williams Institute, tells Billboard she wasn't surprised to see such massive turnout from the LGBTQ community, largely in support of Biden and Harris. "President-elect Biden has this very developed platform for advancing LGBTQ equality; definitely the most comprehensive we've seen from any presidential nominee, and any elected president," she says. "It addresses so many areas where LGBT people continue to face disparities and hardships, and where the law hasn't advanced yet to fully protect them from discrimination."
With a Biden administration on the horizon, many in the LGBTQ community are eagerly anticipating how the administration will tackle important issues within the community, including undoing the Trump administration's rollbacks of transgender rights, passing the Equality Act, and instituting federal protections for queer, trans and non-binary Americans.
"There's a lot of ways that a Biden administration could move the needle forward, even if Congress doesn't," Mallory explains. Should Democrats fail to take control of Congress in the two upcoming Georgia runoff elections, she says, the Biden administration could advise all federal agencies to use the Supreme Court's Bostock v. Clayton County decision to provide hundreds of protections for LGBTQ Americans under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"Artists and celebrities who align themselves with political candidates do so because they know there is more to their work than just the art," Fiore says. "There is a political impact with what they do, and they have a tremendous impact with communities that, when mobilized effectively, can sway elections."
Billboard chatted with 12 LGBTQ artists about the future of America under a Biden-Harris administration. Below, Billy Porter, Big Freedia, Shea Diamond and others discuss their reactions to Biden and Harris' victory, the policies they would like to see put in place under the new administration, and what their fans can do in the meantime to make their voices heard.