The council launch comes two weeks before Election Day as polls show a tight race in Georgia between Biden and President Donald Trump.
“Now is the time for members of the LGBTQ+ community to make sure their voices are heard,” state Rep. Park Cannon said in a press release. “It is up to us to work in lockstep with our allies and continue to make progress and protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us.”
Cannon is co-chair of the council alongside Doraville Mayor Pro-Tem Stephe Koontz, Bishop O.C. Allen of Vision Church of Atlanta, transgender activist Tracee McDaniel, Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham and state Reps. Sam Park and Matthew Wilson.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the stark inequalities that still plague our society, and made it abundantly clear that America is in dire need of a leader like Joe Biden who will fight for all of us,” Park said.
Trump unleashed an “unending assault on the LGBTQ+ community,” McDaniel said.
“We need to use our right to vote and make it clear that we demand a change,” she said. “Our visibility saves lives and especially Black trans lives, so we must show up and participate for equality, justice, equity. Thusly, we need an administration that also believes human rights are trans rights, and trans rights are human rights.”
Wilson said the U.S. needs “a message of unity and equality, not hate and divisiveness.”
“Our community has been on the receiving end of violence and discrimination for far too long, and we need leaders who are not afraid to stand up and protect all Americans, regardless of who they love or how they identify,” he said. “Joe and Kamala’s steadfast commitment to championing the rights of all people is essential to the future of our nation.”
Koontz, the only openly transgender elected official in Georgia, noted the high rates of violence against trans people.
“We need a society where all people are protected and able to contribute,” she said. “This requires leadership that celebrates our differences and sees our diversity as a strength.”
The Trump administration’s rhetoric and anti-LGBTQ actions “cut against the ethic of love and equality that is foundational to a life of faith and service,” Allen said.
“This election goes beyond traditional politics, it is now a moral imperative to vote someone into the White House who will protect the rights of all Americans and treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and that person is Joe Biden,” he added.
Graham noted “how fragile the path to equality can be.”
“We are not done fighting, and we need a president who is unwavering in their commitment to ensuring equality for all Americans,” he said.
Koontz, Park, Wilson and Cannon touted the Biden campaign at a press conference at the rainbow crosswalks in Midtown on Oct. 9. The event also celebrated Atlanta Pride Weekend.
Biden’s Georgia campaign includes two LGBTQ senior staff members: former state Rep. Simone Bell and Reese McCranie, a veteran of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign as well as Keisha Lance Bottoms’ 2017 runoff victory for Atlanta mayor. Bell is a senior adviser and McCranie is deputy state director of Biden’s Georgia campaign.
Bell talked about the campaign’s LGBTQ inclusion in an episode of Q Conversations in August.
Eleven LGBTQ leaders from metro Atlanta joined 300 others nationwide to endorse Biden and Kamala Harris in September.
The full list of the Biden campaign’s Georgia LGBTQ Leadership Council:
- State Rep. Park Cannon
- State Rep. Sam Park
- State Rep. Matthew Wilson
- Doraville Mayor Pro-Tem Stephe Koontz
- Bishop O.C. Allen, founder and senior pastor of Vision Church of Atlanta
- Tracee McDaniel, executive director of Juxtaposed Center for TRANSformation
- Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality
Leadership Council members:
- Mary Anne Adams, LGBTQ advocate
- Antwan Aiken, LGBTQ advocate
- Everton Blair, Gwinnett County Board of Education member
- Barret Broussard, president of the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia
- Javier Brown, City of Atlanta Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
- Percy Brown, national email strategist for Lambda Legal
- Malik Brown, director of LGBTQ affairs for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
- Gabrielle Claiborne, Co-founder of TRANSformation Journeys
- Paul Conroy, LGBTQ advocate
- State Rep. Karla Drenner
- Jamie Fergerson, executive director of Atlanta Pride
- Lakara Foster, founder and CEO of She Speaks! Institute for Women
- Glen Paul Freedman, CFO and COO of Fair Fight Action
- Kolbey Gardner, president of Black LGBT Lives Matter
- Joseph Geierman, mayor of Doraville
- Brandon Goldberg, chair of Mid-Fulton Democrats
- Ray Hom, LGBTQ advocate
- Paul Horning, treasurer of the Victory Institute
- Roshelle Darlene Hudson, co-founder and CEO of Southern Unity Movement
- Kim Jackson, Democratic nominee for Georgia Senate District 41
- Ralph Jones, director of communications for U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin
- Julie Jordan, Democratic nominee for Georgia House District 179
- Kyle Lamont, Democratic National Committee LGBT Advisory Board member
- Ivette Lopez, LatinoLinQ board member
- Chris Lugo, executive director of Out Georgia Business Alliance
- Josh McNair, LGBTQ civic activist
- D’Angelo Morrison, director of services and advocacy at He is Valuable, Inc.
- Eric Paulk, deputy director for Georgia Equality
- Phillip Rafshoon, LGBTQ advocate
- Alex Reed, legal studies professor
- Ashton Reynolds, director of operations for He is Valuable, Inc.
- Kirk Rich, Atlanta Housing Authority commissioner
- Ryan Roemerman, executive director for the LGBTQ Institute, National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- State Rep. Renita Shannon
- Fred Smith, Emory University law professor
- Scott Spencer, manufacturing engineer and MBA fellow at Georgia Tech
- Feroza Syed, transgender activist
- Alex Wan, executive director of Horizons Atlanta
- Rhea Wunsch, state director for March for Our Lives of Georgia
- Matthew Yarbrough, political consultant at Gate City Public Affairs, LLC
- Vern Yip, HGTV personality
This story is made possible by a grant from Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.