The 2020 presidential election may well be the most significant election in our lifetimes — if not in the history of our nation. As Nevadans, each of us will play a critical role in not only selecting the next president of the United States but determining whether we live in a just society that offers a better future for all.
For those of us in the LGBTQ+ community, we also know that 2020 is one of the most consequential election years for LGBTQ+ people — not just at the presidential level, but up and down the ballot. A few weeks ago, Silver State Equality and our partners at Equality California made a bold move with a public endorsement of a presidential candidate, throwing our support behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president of the United States.
As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, we did not make this decision lightly or quickly, nor did we endorse Buttigieg simply because he’s gay. This move followed a lengthy evaluation process of the candidates’ viability and policy positions. We concluded that Buttigieg is the best candidate for America and for the LGBTQ+ community. Importantly, his strong performances in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary clearly demonstrated both his electability and his ability to connect with all Americans regardless of gender, age, color, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Now more than ever, America needs a fighter who will take on the challenges we face and create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all of us. That champion is Pete Buttigieg.
His bold, comprehensive agenda to achieve full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people by far surpasses that of any presidential candidate in our nation’s history. Buttigieg’s commitment to make our schools safe and supportive for LGBTQ+ students, his specific funding and policy priorities to protect and empower the transgender community — especially transgender women of color, who face an epidemic of violence and persecution — and his plans to invest in the Black and Latinx communities in Nevada and across the country are particularly compelling.
LGBTQ+ Nevadans are women, men, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming. We belong to communities of color and Native communities, rural communities and immigrant communities. We are servicemembers and veterans, students and seniors and people with disabilities.
And, like all Americans, LGBTQ+ people need affordable health care and great public schools. We need commonsense gun safety reforms, civil rights protections and reproductive freedom. We need environmental justice and an economy that gives everyone a shot at success.
Yet, today too many LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color, immigrants and transgender folks, face disparities in health and well-being, an education system that isn’t safe and a justice system that targets and criminalizes us instead of protecting us.
Electing the first openly gay president will redefine what’s possible in politics and in society. His candidacy is already inspiring millions of LGBTQ+ youth across the country and giving hope to LGBTQ seniors who have witnessed an arc that extends from risking jail for expressing who they are to having the opportunity to cast a ballot for the nation’s first viable LGBTQ+ candidate for president.
Silver State Equality believes that Pete Buttigieg is the candidate best positioned to beat Donald Trump and to lead our nation into a future that is just and fully equal for everyone.
André C. Wade is the state director for the Silver State Equality, a Nevada LGBTQ+ civil rights organization