The LGBTQ community is in serious danger, and we as a community should begin to take note. While those of us in urban centers and in strongly blue states might feel better about our position in society and in politics, those in mostly red states are having their rights taken away at an alarming rate. You might believe that it only pertains to the trans and drag community, but rest assured that is just a starting point. Right-wing politicians are now going after all LGBTQ people, and they aren’t trying to hide it.
Most in our community believe anti-LGBTQ legislation to be an anomaly just in Florida and Texas, but it has gone national. Much of the legislative discrimination happening today is a step back to the 1940s.
Here’s a partial list, and I do mean partial, of some of the laws that restrict or ban parts or all of our communities. Some legislation has passed and become law and some is on its way to becoming law.
First, of course, are the “Don’t Say Gay” laws first made popular in Florida and now appearing in other states. You might think of it as a paper tiger, but “Don’t Say Gay” and its rhetoric has already led to violence against our community, including a hacked billboard that suggested killing the gays; banning of books with almost any reference to LGBT; racial issues being banned; libraries being warned of heavy fines and even imprisonment; teachers being fired; drag events being canceled; organizations canceling Pride; and Equality Florida and the NAACP issuing travel alerts to Florida. That is a list of tremendous horror.
Other legislation in Florida and other states takes away funding of our medical and community centers. They take away trans medical treatments and strip parental rights over their own children. In some states they are also considering legislation to overturn marriage equality. And if all that were not enough, right-wing politicians have gone back to the most basic of discriminatory practices: changing the sodomy law so it clearly states that it’s only lawful for a man and a woman to have consensual sex.
This is all being done by one political party: Republicans. They have taken themselves as far right as, let’s just say it, fascist. Think that’s going too far? Your rights, your employment, your marriage and your very sexuality are all targets, right now, of the right wing movement across the country.
We’ve had backlashes in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. This is a sweeping revolt against the basic equality that we’ve achieved. We also have to recognize that it is not just happening to our community. Many other communities, including people of color and immigrants, are under attack by the same politicians that attack us.
What I see among Democrats and the media is alarming as well. They won’t call the Republican laws what they are: fascism. The one point I’ve learned and preached over the last 53 years is for our community to become visible. These people are attempting to make LGBTQ people invisible and not part of their vision of America.
How do we fight back? We show that visibility by demonstrating and doing nonviolent disruptive acts. We show that visibility by bringing up all the anti-LGBTQ laws in conversations with family and friends, and we be honest about how terrible they are. Oh, one more thing: we get involved politically. Register, vote, and volunteer for candidates that can fight this fascist wave from school boards to state capitals to Washington itself. If we have learned one thing since Stonewall, it is to be out, loud and proud. Translation: we must be visible and we must not allow ourselves to wallow in victimhood. We. Must. Fight. Back.