Joe Biden’s presidency comes with many firsts, and as he took to the stage on Saturday night he added a new one: the first president-elect to mention trans people in his victory speech.
Addressing a jubilant crowd in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, the new president-elect declared it was now America’s “time to heal” and vowed to unify the nation once again.
He began by thanking “the broadest and most diverse coalition in history” for backing his campaign, including a shoutout to the LGBT+ community.
“I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history,” he said.
“Democrats, Republicans, independents. Progressives, moderates, conservatives. Young, old. Urban, suburban, and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American.”
Amid a chorus of cheers, applause and pumping car horns, he continued: “I mean it. Especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb — the African-American community stood up again for me.
“They always have my back, and I’ll have yours. I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.”
Biden’s victory speech was a reassuring return to the professional, presidential rhetoric eschewed by Donald Trump, and a sign of his intention to be president to “all people” – including marginalised groups.
His words carried echoes of Barack Obama’s 2008 speech, which was the first time a president-elect had ever mentioned the gay community.
And as Biden promised to usher in a new era of cooperation, he acknowledged the painful truth that “too many dreams have been deferred for too long” – a reference to the poem “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, a gay Black man.
“We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability,” he said.
“We stand again at an inflection point. We have the opportunity to defeat despair and to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can.”