This article was published on January 7th, 2021
The final votes have been tallied and despite the threats and rebuffing from President Trump, both Senate seats in Georgia have been won by the Democratic party, with Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock winning against the Republican incumbents, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
The wins assure the Democratic party control of both the House and the Senate when President-Elect Joe Biden takes control on January 20th. The chamber will now be split 50-50, with the tie-breaking vote given to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. The LGBTQ+ community is now assured of some solace from the Republican party, which has historically been adversarial towards any issues they face. HomoCulture breaks down what has been protected and what to expect in the future.
The Equality Act
Warnock and Ossof have both been vocal supporters of the Equality act, which protects against against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit.
Warnock specifically has expressed the need to prevent legalized loopholes for insurance companies to discriminate against any member of the LGBTQ+ community, and is prepared to fight for the right of all citizens to lead lives of equal dignity and access to health care for ourselves and our families without fear of harassment and discrimination.
Ossof, who will become the youngest Senator since Joe Biden over 30 years ago has pledged unwavering support for the gay community as well as supporting the Equality Act once sworn into the Senate. President-elect Joe Biden has also promised to pass the Equality Act within the first 100 days in office.
The rights of the transgender community have been in contention on several occasions during the run-off in Georgia, with United States lawmakers battling over healthcare protections for trans Americans and sex changes on birth certificates, including trans girls and women in school as well as university sports programs.
Senator Loeffler had proposed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, designed to withhold funding from schools that allowed trans girls to compete on sports teams according to their gender identity. Ossoff and Warnock have taken a firm stance on the rights of trans people, with the intent to address the violence faced by many trans people in the country.
LGBT+ activists are rallying to ensure that the incoming Biden administration passes a federal ban on a controversial treatment known as conversion therapy, which aims to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently, conversion therapy is currently banned for minors in 20 states in America and the District of Columbia, and there are mounting efforts worldwide to outlaw the practice, with Britain, Israel and Mexico among the other countries reviewing their policies.
To date, nearly 700,000 Americans have undergone conversion therapy, half when under 18, which can range from counseling, ‘praying away the gay’, and electric shocks. Republicans and conservative religious groups have attempted to push through a nationwide ban would fall foul of federal constitutional protections on freedom of expression and religion.
An Promising Outlook
President Biden also has the power to take executive action to forward LGBTQ+ rights once he takes office and is expected to stand alongside the community to re-route the policies that have been changed under the Trump regime, including lifting the ban on trans personnel joining the military. As everything unfolds, HomoCulture will cover legislation affecting the LGBTQ+ community.