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How Reggie Greer Fights for LGBTQ+ Rights From Inside the Biden Admin

Reggie Greer

The President's senior advisor on LGBTQ+ issues is making sure diverse voices are heard and is one of our People of the Year. 

Reggie Greer has worked for two presidents he calls "transformational" -- Barack Obama and Joe Biden -- and he couldn't be happier about it.

"It's an honor to be in this role," says Greer, the gay man who is Biden's senior adviser on LGBTQ+ issues and director of priority placement in the White House's Presidential Personnel Office. He was deputy director of public engagement at the U.S. Department of Transportation during Obama's administration, and in Biden's presidential campaign he led efforts to get out the LGBTQ+ vote.

He always feels free to bring up issues with Biden, and Obama displayed the same type of openness, Greer says. As an adviser, Greer brings the president not only his own thoughts on LGBTQ+ concerns but what he and his colleagues have gleaned from meetings with activists and ordinary citizens.

Greer and Hannah Bristol, associate director of public engagement at the White House, have met with a variety of groups and individuals to discuss these concerns. "A day hasn't gone by when we haven't taken seriously bringing all the voices to the table," he says.

The sessions have dealt with anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, global rights, climate change, Biden's Build Back Better plan, and more. "Every issue's an LGBTQ+ issue," Greer says.

One of the most pressing LGBTQ+ issues right now is whether the Senate will pass the Equality Act, a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that has already made it through the Democratic-majority House. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats (including two independents allied with them) and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break a tie with a Democratic vote. But unless the Senate drops the filibuster rule, under which it takes 60 votes to end debate on a bill and move to a vote on the legislation itself, it will take the support of 10 Republicans to pass the Equality Act.

A lot of people are worried about the act's fate, but Greer is optimistic. He and his White House associates have been working in concert with Freedom and Opportunity for All, a coalition of 17 civil rights groups advocating for the bill. "I feel confident and I feel good about the progress that so many great people are making on the Equality Act," he says.

Greer also notes that he gets to work with incredible people every day. "I'm alongside an extremely talented and committed group of public servants," he says. "This has made the work extremely enjoyable."

This story is part of The Advocate's 2021 People of the Year issue, which is out on newsstands Nov. 23, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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