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'It gave me more faith in America': LGBTQ students react to Biden's Win

December 8, 2020
<p>Illustration of a woman holding an LGBTQ+ flag.</p>

Illustration of a woman holding an LGBTQ+ flag.

Photo by Hope Ann Flores | The State News

Following the results of the 2020 presidential election, public policy sophomore Sky Stillwell stepped outside with her housemates, turned on some music, and began to dance.

Stillwell, who identifies as bisexual said that although Joe Biden was not her first choice and that she would have preferred Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, she was very happy to see him beat rival candidate President Donald Trump.

“I had my doubts ... but I think deep down I always kind of knew he (Biden) would win,” she said.

Stillwell is also amazed to see Kamala Harris, a woman of color, as Vice President-elect, and to see more diversity in potential cabinet picks.

“It’s going to be really good for our country to have so much more diversity in the White House,” Stillwell said. “... though (Biden) might not be the best President in the world, I think a lot of those things are more secure with him in the office rather than Donald Trump."

Stillwell said that she hopes to see abortion rights and LGBTQ rights protected.

Nursing major Gary Laskowski also voted for Sanders in the primary but voted for Biden in the presidential election. He said that due to the drawn-out nature of the election, he could tell Biden was going to win, but that he felt relieved when the results were finally in.

“... Trump has nominated a lot of judges to the Supreme Court that could potentially take away gay marriage, or take away protections for LGBTQ people,” he said. “So, it was more like a relief when I found out (Biden) won."

For Laskowski, the election was closer than he expected, but he had anticipated a Biden victory, especially because of the overwhelming Democratic victory in Michigan in 2018.

Laskowski, who identifies as gay, said that he has cut off people close to him for their decision to vote for Trump and that he feels that those that try to paint politics as a theoretical exercise we should put away in order to avoid conflict are coming from a place of privilege.

“... It’s a very privileged thing to be able to say ‘... it’s just politics, you should be able to get along with people that disagree with you',” Laskowski said. “... From my point of view, you just voted against my marriage, you voted against my ability to have kids in the future, you voted against my ability to have workplace-protection."

The Biden victory was also a sigh of relief for social work sophomore Clare Walton, who identifies as a lesbian. 

“It was just nice to take a deep breath and know that it would be a lot less stressful now that Biden was elected,” she said.

Walton described her expectations for the election as "cautiously optimistic".

“I think ... it’ll be a step forward for a lot of different things,” Walton said. “I think that Trump being in office kind of put a lot of pressure on a whole bunch of different communities whether it be people of color or the LGBTQ community ... it’ll definitely be a push forward into better things coming for minorities around the country."

Walton also voted for Sanders in the primary. She said that she hopes Biden will recognize the way young people rallied around Sanders and take some of his ideas into consideration.

According to polling data published Jan. 31, 2020, Joe Biden was the third most popular choice by LGBTQ voters. The data also shows that LGBTQ voters favored Sanders over Biden by 16%. Still, 76% of LGBTQ voters favored Biden over Trump, and the overwhelming majority of young people (ages 18-29) voted for Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Laskowski expressed his renewed confidence in this power and the country in general following the Biden victory.

“... It gave me more faith in America,” he said.

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