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There’s no doubt that in the last four years, LGBTQ+ Americans have been set back.

But true to our roots, LGBTQ+ Americans have persevered and fought back at every attack hurled our way. And now — in the most important election of our lifetime — we not only have a chance to vote out a hateful and divisive President, but we can actually elect two champions of equality: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Since being elected in 2016, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have allowed hate to be directed at LGBTQ+ individuals and rolled back critical protections for our community.

Whether it’s banning transgender people from serving in the military, watering down anti-discrimination rules that protect LGBTQ+ individuals from being denied health care, or failing to address the epidemic of violence against transgender people, the Trump-Pence Administration has led a systematic effort to undo the progress President Obama and Vice President Biden made.

And now, with our vote, North Carolinians can send a clear message: we believe that every human being should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or who they love.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the leaders we need. Leaders who will fight to ensure that America finally lives up to the promise on which it was founded: equality for all.

Joe Biden has committed to making the Equality Act a top legislative priority. The Equality Act is the most pro-LGBTQ+ legislation in U.S. history. This law would ensure equal rights under the law for everyone, and protect LGBTQ+ Americans across a multitude of areas, including: employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, and federally funded programs.

A Biden-Harris administration would treat LGBTQ+ service members and veterans with the respect that they deserve and ensure that young LGBTQ+ people are supported and protected in our schools and college campuses. And during their first 100 days in office, a Biden-Harris administration will direct federal resources to help prevent further violence against transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, who face severe levels of violence and discrimination.

If elected, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the champions that our community deserves. And we know this not only because of their pro-equality platform but because of their long history of supporting our community.

During the Obama-Biden Administration, the United States made historic strides toward LGBTQ+ equality. The Administration fought for and won a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that extended coverage of federal hate crimes law to include attacks based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. And with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were banned from discriminating against anyone due to a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kamala Harris has a long pro-equality track record too. As Attorney General of California, she refused to defend Proposition 8, a law that banned same-sex marriage in the state. And as district attorney in San Francisco, Kamala Harris established a hate crimes unit that investigated and prosecuted anti-LGBTQ violence.

This year, the choice for our community is clear.

We can make history and send two champions of equality to the White House, and elect Democrats up and down the ballot who will fight for an America that is welcoming and inclusive.

Early voting in North Carolina has already started. There is too much at stake in this election to wait until the last minute to make our voices heard. Make a plan to vote today at IWillVote.com/NC and cast a ballot. And if you haven’t registered to vote, that’s not a problem. Voters can visit an early voting site to register to vote and cast a ballot.

And once you know how you are going to vote, make sure your friends and family have a plan to vote, too. Because it will take all of us to win this election.

Rep. Vernetta Alston serves as co-chair of the Biden for President North Carolina LGBTQ+ Leadership Council.