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Meet the Black Gay Man Behind Joe Biden's LGBTQ+ Outreach

reggie greer

Reggie Greer is leading the fight to bring queer voters to the polls. 

Reggie Greer had the opportunity to observe Joe Biden even before signing on as LGBTQ+ vote director for his presidential campaign, and what he's seen has convinced him that Biden is the leader the U.S. needs now.

"I think that our country is at an inflection point," Greer says. "I believe in Vice President Biden's leadership style, his empathy, and ability to bring people together. He will bring a diverse set of voices together to address the nation's problems."

Greer was deputy director of public engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation when Biden was vice president and Barack Obama was president. That gave him a chance to know Biden and to develop faith in his ability to deal with challenges that include a pandemic, systemic racism, and the damage inflicted by Donald Trump.

"Joe Biden spent his entire career fighting systemic injustice," Greer says. "He listens to people when they explain the types of systemic issues that they face."

That most definitely includes LGBTQ+ Americans, he says. "If you look at Joe Biden's life as a private citizen, as a public servant, you'll see a person who has been willing to listen to LGBTQ+ people," Greer says. Biden is the most pro-equality presidential nominee in history and wants to make LGBTQ+ equality a hallmark of his presidency, he adds.

Such commitment to equality was evident in the Obama-Biden administration too, Greer observes. He was one of 330 LGBTQ+ appointees in the administration, coming out to 8 percent of all presidential appointments and therefore significant representation. "We were able to move the needle on a whole host of issues," he says.

So when Greer, who worked at the LGBTQ Victory Institute after his stint in the Obama administration, got the chance to work in Biden's presidential campaign, he "jumped at the opportunity."

His desire to help elect Biden is also rooted in his identity and background. "I am a gay Black man with a disability who grew up in a middle-class family," says Greer, who underwent 18 surgeries before his 16th birthday for a degenerative birth defect called hemifacial microsomia. "I have been fortunate enough to benefit from the way the systems are designed to work, and I want them to work for everybody."

A native of Texas, Greer is the son of an engineer and a nurse, so thanks to his parents' jobs and insurance, he had access to high-quality health care--the type of health care everyone should have, he notes.

Greer adds, "I am a person of faith. I think about the types of values we need to return to...assuring people that government represents them and does right by them."

His job with the Biden campaign includes leading the Out for Biden initiative, aimed at motivating the 11 million LGBTQ+ American voters to get to the polls. With the current pandemic putting the kibosh on most in-person gatherings, Out for Biden is offering a digital tool kit to help supporters organize meetings via Zoom and other online platforms to talk about why it's important to support Biden.

The campaign held several virtual events in June for Pride Month, featuring such LGBTQ+ leaders as Virginia Del. Danica Roem, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Virtual phone banks and other efforts to get out the vote are ongoing.

"Voter turnout's going to be the key" to winning the election, Greer says, adding that a Biden win will produce an administration dedicated to inclusion, something that brings out the best in the nation, unlike the exclusionary vision promoted by those who claim to be making America great again.

"What makes this country great," Greer says, "is that we include every voice in the political process."

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