The author speaking at a teen-led marriage equality rally in Los Angeles on May 29, 2004

When Joe Biden announced his support for marriage equality in 2012, it created a domino effect of how our nation came to view LGBT people as human beings.

A year later, Kamala Harris insisted on allowing same-sex couples to marry immediately (including officiate a wedding herself!) after the Supreme Court struck down the malicious and bigoted Proposition 8 that she had refused to defend.

And in so many ways, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took actions that reminded me that years of my own hard work was worth it.

I came out in 2003 at the age of 14 to a very supportive family and community. Recognizing my own privilege and unique situation, I threw myself into pro-LGBTQ activism, fighting for a world in which future generations wouldn’t have to fight for their right to exist and thrive.

Back then, same-sex marriage was a bludgeon used to polarize our country to great effect, especially during the 2004 presidential election year. In response, I organized a teen-themed rally in support of marriage equality. While many associate young people today as the vanguard on progressive social causes, very few at that time expected high school kids to talk about marriage.

Just two days before my 15th birthday, on May 29, 2004 hundreds of us converged outside our local federal building with our signs, waving to drivers honking in support, hearing from community leaders, and speaking with media from five television channels, the Daily Bruin, and LA Times. For the first time, I enjoyed the thrill of amplifying my voice through a bullhorn!

That one rally sparked my lifelong passion and career in advocacy and politics in the pursuit of social justice.

Photograph by Arpit Mehta

Fast forward to November 16, 2019, when I married my husband, Adam. It’s truly amazing how much had changed in the 15 years since I organized that rally! Despite the pain of many early losses, the state-level wins and Supreme Court victories in a few short years turned America into a beacon of hope for LGBTQ people.

As my parents toasted us at the wedding, they gifted Adam one of the bullhorns I used at my rally — to make sure he could get a word in!

Photograph by Arpit Mehta

The gesture highlighted how far we’ve come as a country and the small part I got to play, but also reminded us of how great America can be when leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris act and speak out as allies.

Electing Joe Biden means having someone in the White House who not only cares about protecting the sacred right to marry, but also to ensuring that LGBTQ people are able to live free of discrimination in every aspect of our lives.

Joe Biden gives a damn about ending the epidemic of violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color. He’d fight to ensure that we can get an education, medical care, and secure housing regardless of our sexual orientation and gender identity by passing the Equality Act. And Joe Biden will empower federal agencies to be fierce champions of equality.

LGBTQ youth in particular shouldn’t have to fight like I did, even in my extraordinarily accepting circumstances, and I know that they’ll be overwhelmingly embraced by a Biden Administration.

I know that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris bring forward an administration fueled by empathy when their campaign states, “You Are Loved Whether You Are Able To Be Out or Not” on National Coming Out Day.

The stakes have never been higher after four years attacks on our community from the overtly anti-LGBTQ Trump Administration, its efforts to push through Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement with an anti-LGBTQ extremist in an election year, and two Supreme Court justices publicly slamming marriage equality and putting our rights into question.

On this National Coming Out Day, may we all be #OutForBiden by making a plan to vote early, volunteering, donating, and getting everyone we know to do the same — no bullhorns required!

Social justice advocate, proud LA native and resident by way of SF and DC