Black LGBTQ+ voters could make the difference for Biden in 2024 election

“The Black and LGBTQ communities are both critical parts of the Biden-Harris coalition that played an important role in the president's victory in 2020 and will be pivotal to victory this November,” said Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: US President Joe Biden speaks at the Pride Month celebration on the South Lawn of the White House on June 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people came to the white house to celebrate pride month with a performance by singer Betty Who. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Election poll data and turnout trends of Black voters and voters who identify as LGBTQ+ signal the significant sway the two groups could play in the outcome of the 2024 presidential contest.

Black LGBTQ+ voters, who stand at the intersection of these two influential voting blocs, could be critical for President Joe Biden’s reelection.

“The Black and LGBTQ communities are both critical parts of the Biden-Harris coalition that played an important role in the president’s victory in 2020 and will be pivotal to victory this November,” said Florida state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a member of the Biden-Harris 2024 national advisory board, and Florida’s first openly gay Black lawmaker.

In addition to more Black Americans voting in 2020 than in any other presidential election since President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, voters who identified as LGBTQ+ in 2020, an increasingly growing population (at least 20 million), surged to its highest level (7% of the electorate) in U.S. history. President Biden won 92% of Black voters and 73% of LGBTQ+ voters in 2020.

“That is not an insignificant number when the election was decided by tens of thousands of votes in just a handful of states,” Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who also sits on the Biden-Harris campaign’s national board of advisers, told theGrio.

Understanding the crucial impact Black and LGBTQ+ voters could make in this year’s election, the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign got an early start by investing millions of dollars in ads targeting Black voters. Recently, the campaign launched OUT for Biden, a national organizing and engagement program to mobilize LGBTQ+ voters.

Sen. Kamala Harris greets the crowd at the annual Pride Parade at Civic Center on Sunday, June 30, 2019, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

To date, several LGBTQ+ organizations have endorsed President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for a second term, including those led by Black LGBTQ+ leaders like Kelley Robinson, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. 

“We get that when they come after reproductive rights, when they come after DEI, when they come after LGBTQ+ issues, it is an attempt to undermine the progress that we have made in this country,” Robinson told theGrio. “Not only over the last 10 years or 20 years but over the last 400 years.”

Pointing to battleground states like Texas, Georgia, and Florida which are comprised of some of the nation’s largest Black populations and the highest surge in LGBTQ+ voters, the social justice advocate added, “Black LGBTQ+ voters get that better than any other community. We are a huge voting bloc.” 

The TIME’s Most Influential People of 2024 honoree said HRC’s PAC endorsed Biden and Harris because the “contrast is clear” between them and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“The Biden-Harris administration has been the most pro-equality administration in U.S. history,” said Robinson, who noted President Biden’s signing of the Respect for Marriage Act – which enshrined same-sex marriage in federal statute for the first time in U.S. history – and the administration’s expansion of discrimination protections. 

By contrast, she said, Trump has “led some of the most anti-LGBTQ+ efforts in American history,” including enforcing a military trans ban. Robinson also expressed dismay at Trump’s campaign promise to “back the hateful ban on trans people getting health care access, [and] promising to defund hospitals and criminalize doctors for providing medical care.”

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign, speaks during the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 14, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

According to polling, Black and LGBTQ+ voters overwhelmingly favor Biden over Trump. A March 2024 poll conducted by GLAAD found that 68% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer voters prefer Biden compared to 15% who prefer Trump. Similarly, a New York Times/Sienna poll conducted in April showed that 69% of Black voters support Biden compared to 16% who support Trump. An additional 15% remained undecided. 

Though support for the president and vice president among Black and LGBTQ voters eclipses those in support of Trump, the Biden-Harris reelection campaign is working to widen that gap through its mobilization efforts like OUT for Biden and its ad blitz directly speaking to Black voters.  

Robinson said the rest of the work in mobilizing Black and LGBTQ+ voters rests on organizations like HRC. 

“We have a responsibility to be out there bridging the gap for both letting them know that we see the things that matter to them most in their communities,” she said. “And sharing how this Biden-Harris administration is … pushing forward laws and policies that are going to make a difference.”

Earl Fowlkes, president and CEO of the Center For Black Equity, a Black LGBTQ+ social justice organization that also endorsed the Biden-Harris campaign, said he personally speaks to voters, including his own younger nieces and nephews who are of voting age who have “come to [him] with some concerns.” 

“I’ve been able to speak to them about … how important that when you compare it to the opposition, there is no comparison,” Fowlkes told theGrio. “Unfortunately, people are not getting the detailed information. They’re getting snippets of stuff through social media … they’ve drawn the conclusion based on a lack of evidence.” 

The longtime political organizer said it is his “job” to “provide the evidence” to voters about the Biden-Harris record, including canceling $147 billion in student loans, a record low Black unemployment, and the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure, including bridges, highways, and roads.

“[Biden] is not getting credit for those things. So we have to remind people of how bad things were during the last administration,” said Fowlkes. “If we don’t reelect the president and the vice president, we’re going to be fighting battles that we thought we had already fought and won.”

President Joe Biden delivers the 2023 State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris behind him. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images)

Kenyatta, who is Pennsylvania’s first openly gay lawmaker of color, said seeing “precedents 50 years old overturned” like Roe v. Wade has “certainly” not left him and others “feeling secure” about other precedents like Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court that made same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

The 33-year-old state lawmaker, who chairs President Biden’s advisory commission on advancing educational equity and economic opportunity for Black Americans, said Black and LGBTQ+ people have “been on the receiving end of bullying” by leaders like Trump. 

“In lieu of being able to solve real problems for real people, Donald Trump has demonized folks,” said Kenyatta. “Joe Biden, on the other hand, has been an outspoken, unapologetic supporter of all Americans, irrespective of their sexual orientation.” 

He also noted key Black LGBTQ+ appointments within the Biden-Harris administration and presidential campaign, including him, Sen. Jones and White House Press Secretary Karine-Jean-Pierre.

The elected and grassroots leaders told theGrio that every day until Election Day will be critical to ensuring that Americans, particularly Black and LGBTQ+ voters, understand the stakes in this year’s election on Nov. 5.

“It will take all hands on deck,” said Jones. “The contrast could not be more stark between President Biden, who has worked to bring down costs, create good, family-sustaining jobs, and keep our families safe — and Donald Trump who’s dead set on ripping away Americans’ freedoms, gutting Social Security and Medicare, and undoing the progress made in the last four years.”

Fowlkes, who argued that get-out-the-vote campaigns and urging voters to vote early are going to “make the difference,” said, “The Black LGBTQ population once again is gonna step up to the plate and knock it out.”

Recommended Stories