Persisting with Pride
I’m a lesbian and I can get pregnant, but I’m not a person who lost rights *on Friday* in the same way many others did. I live in a state today that protects my right to marry, to use IVF to conceive and to terminate a pregnancy if I need to. But with millions of Americans losing their reproductive rights, I am heartbroken and afraid.
More than afraid, I’m angry about what could be next. In his concurring opinion to the devastating Dobbs decision, Justice Clarence Thomas declared an attack on access to contraceptives, bedroom privacy, and gay marriage. With the precedent set last week, we have every reason to believe these rights are now at risk.
When I wrote the first draft of this post weeks ago, I was excited for the first Pride that many of us have been able to celebrate together since 2019. Unfortunately, this Pride resembled the first Pride in 1969, which started with a protest, more than we could have expected.
On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn. Though these attacks on our community were common, the patrons of Stonewall, led largely by trans women of color, fought back. The series of protests that followed catalyzed the LGBTQ+ equality movement. Still, five long years passed before Kathy Kozachenko and Elaine Noble became the first openly LGBTQ+ elected officials in the U.S. It took over two decades before Tammy Baldwin made history as the first non-incumbent, openly LGBTQ+ person to be elected to federal office.
Since then, thousands of openly LGBTQ+ candidates have stepped up to run for office. According to the LGBTQ Victory Institute, 1,041 LGBTQ+ elected officials serve their communities today. That’s progress, but still just 0.2% of the elected officials nationwide, while over 7% of Americans identify as LGBTQ+.
We should remember that marriage equality was not the law of the land until 2015. My partner talks often about where she was when the Obergefell v. Hodges decision came down seven years ago—standing in the lobby of the old NGP VAN offices crying tears she didn’t totally understand. In the moment, it felt like equality, compassion, and progress would rule the day. Yet somehow legislators now feel emboldened to endanger children by policing gender in youth sports, limiting access to healthcare, and restricting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.
So, what are we doing to fight back? We’re organizing. We’re recruiting LGBTQ+ candidates, and helping elect them and their allies into office. And we’re encouraging everyone we know to help.
Pride started with a protest, so fighting back is an integral part of our queer history.
If you can knock on doors, knock on doors.
If you can make calls, make calls.
If you can convince that parent on your kid’s swim team to vote, convince them to vote.
If you’re not sure how to help, check out these LGBTQ+ events on Mobilize: mobilize.us/events/lgbtq/.
We all have to do what we can to win in November and I hope you will join us in the fight.