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Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre isn't the only amazing LGBTQ+ member (or staunch ally) among President Joe Biden's team. In a difficult political climate, when the right is painting the community as toxic, Vice President Kamala Harris has been embracing the LGBTQ+ community and shining a light on issues important to us. She and husband Doug Emhoff have continued to highlight LGBTQ+ issues in unexpected ways, like surprising the crowd by showing up at D.C.'s Capital Pride festival -- and hosting the first celebration at the VP's residence in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride month (and also the first time in history a drag queen has performed there -- that we know of).
Harris and Emhoff continue to hold listening events and sharing supportive stories of trans kids. Pete Buttigiegshowed us how critical a secretary of transportation can be, while his husband Chasten Buttigieg helped push back on right-wing slander (all while raising a child). Admiral Rachel Levinecontinues to impress as the highest ranking trans person in the U.S. -- and when she's attacked, its rarely on principle (like women before her, it's all about her appearance).
White House Office of National AIDS Policy Director Harold Phillips, both gay and living with HIV, came in strong -- despite a two year decline in HIV advancement due to COVID -- and declared that repealing, or at least modernizing, HIV criminalization laws is a top priority (and the president agrees, stating that HIV criminal statues subvert the goals of ending the HIV epidemic).
And then, of course, there's Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, who moved from being director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's division of HIV/AIDS prevention to the White House's MPX (monkeypox) deputy response coordinator. While being challenged by Christians who painted him as a Satanist (for wearing the same luxury harness as Hollywood stars) and a pervert (for attending San Francisco's famed Folsom Street Fair), Daskalakis persevered. Like the rest of Biden's team, Daskalakis puts his head down and britches on and gets to work, even among the protests and social media clamor.
This story is part of The Advocate's 2022 People Of The Year issue, which is out on newsstands Nov. 1. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.