This week started off with yet another red flag warning that our rights are on the line. We all may remember the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; this week the Supreme Court announced it would not hear her case. In a statement, Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Alito essentially wrote that LGBTQ people have no right to equal protection under the law and left an open invitation for our recent legal gains to be challenged. This is a terrifying prospect given that Trump’s newest Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, has been quite public in her support of domestic and international LGBTQ hate groups.
This administration and these justices are not in alignment with the American people. Over 70% of the American people believe that LGBTQ individuals should have the freedom to marry, and about 70% of the country believes that we should have broad nondiscrimination legal protection.
Support for LGBTQ people has been steadily climbing over the decades, but it is not time alone that is making the shift. Our movement has made intentional choices about public visibility and education to help grow public sentiment and reduce the hate, harm, and violence our community has historically experienced.
22 years ago, Matthew Shepard was killed. He wasn’t the first and he wasn’t the last. The efforts of advocates and activists across all sectors of society fostered a climate that was willing to tell his story authentically, our story. Today, we are still in the midst of an epidemic of murders against our community, murders that predominantly target black trans women. This unsettling fact coupled with the upswell of anti-LGBTQ legislation and judges being put forward across the nation reminds us that our work is far from over.
This Sunday is National Coming Out Day, a time for those of us who feel safe enough to remind the world who we are. Next Thursday is Spirit Day, a time when we call for an end to bullying that too often leads to violent ends. In less than 4 weeks it will be Election Day, and as we are already beginning to cast our ballots, we know that our votes in this election will impact our lives now and for generations to come. Thank you for staying in the fight with us during this critical time in our movement. We’ll get through this together, and Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride