There is quite a bit happening at the moment in the LGBTQ community that impacts our safety and our rights. It can seem a bit overwhelming so I’m going to try and break it down for us a bit.
Let’s start with the good stuff! The Respect for Marriage Act has been passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate with President Biden committing to sign it as early as next week! Sign up here to get information about San Diego’s local coordinated community celebration! The bill will ensure the federal government is required to recognize our marriages and grant us 1,138 federal rights and protections. It does not compel states to marry us, so should Obergefell be challenged up to this current makeup of an unsupportive U.S. Supreme Court and we lose, you will still be able to marry in states where it is legal and states will be required to recognize your marriage as long as it was legal where you wed.
That brings us to 303 Creative which just had oral arguments in front of the SCOTUS on Tuesday. In this case, anti-LGBTQ operatives are attempting to say that anti-discrimination laws are a violation of free speech. We saw this coming. It’s been a publicly known strategy on the far right to couple far-right judicial appointments and seemingly innocuous policies to challenge and chip away at LGBTQ rights, abortion access, and religious liberty, all in service to the rise of white nationalism.
This brings us to the Department of Homeland Security’s terrorism advisory bulletin that announced last week Americans motivated by violent ideologies pose a “persistent and lethal threat” to LGBTQ, Jewish, and migrant communities. That these ideologies are being spread online by bad actors foreign and domestic, so it’s not comforting that a report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee three weeks ago shared that DHS and the FBI are not adequately tracking or addressing domestic terrorism, specifically white supremacist violence.
It’s difficult to reflect on that knowing that hundreds of anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation in the US this year assisted in public anti-LGBTQ narratives that stoke fear and violence. Just this year, we know of well over 100 attacks on drag events, a series of threats, and attacks on US Prides, the shooting in Colorado Springs, and just this weekend a domestic terror attack on two power substations that appear to have been a way to prevent a local drag show from occurring.
With so much at stake it is important that we continue our work to invest in community organizing and leadership capacity building locally, nationally, and globally. In addition to Pride 2023 and our year-round education and advocacy programs, we will be adding year-round grassroots organizing efforts and a summit in the spring to train the next generation of activists. We’ll also be hosting the global InterPride Conference where we’ll bring together activists from across the globe to San Diego as we share in this international fight for LGBTQ liberation. The state of our movement is strong and while things might seem scary, nearly 80% of Americans now support equality protection under the law for LGBTQ people. We are not alone in this fight not just to survive but to thrive as we all pursue Justice with Joy.
With Love, Hope, and Pride,
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride