Special to GoGuideMagazine.com
By Fausto Cardenas; National LGBTQ Task Force’s Queering Democracy Community Organizer
There are myriad op-eds and think pieces about why voting is so important this election cycle, no matter how far we’ve come and what we continue to be up against, but there not been enough acknowledgment of the privilege we have being able to move civil rights forward via the power of our vote.
Though not all rights or achievements for the LGBTQ+ community have been achieved through voting, the progress made but LGBTQ+ people and our allies in elected office across the country has helped propel us forward on local, state and national levels. What we must also realize is that we are fortunate in the US to have the power to have a voice in our vote, one that can influence the progress the LGBTQ+ equity via representation in state house, Federal office and local elected positions.
And as bleak as things seem right now, we are fortunate – but we must both appreciate what we have as we fight to maintain that power.
Unfortunately, in many countries, individuals do not have the ability to either vote for representatives that are allies and have a chance to have a direct way to be heard in a legislative body. There are quite a few countries that do not have a democratic process that LGBTQ+ movements and people can influence. This is a reason why voting is so crucial for LGBTQ+ people in this country. And it is with great privilege that we hold both the power and responsibility to engage our government officials and propel our movement for equality by supporting elected officials that support us.
How many times have you heard someone from another country say how much they would love to live or move to a country that allows them to live authentically themselves and has a LGBTQ+ affirmative environment? If you haven’t take a look at the climate for LGBTQ people in places like Brasil, Russia and Poland, to simply name a few. Our fight is a global one and if we are to live up to ideals as a nation we need to be thinking about our brothers, sisters and trans and non-binary siblings around the world this November 3.
It’s also so important to be cautious about the particular opposition we are facing directed at our trans and non-binary sibling across this country. The attacks from anti-LGBTQ+ people and their rhetoric have been heavily focused on targeting and taking down trans and non-binary inclusive policies and voices. New attacks spring up focusing on misinformation around bathrooms, sports, and public facilities. Where there is failure to realize trans and non-binary people are most at risk from attacks by cis people, these thoughts permeate and influence exclusion and hate. The larger LGBTQ+ community can do better, and the National LGBTQ Task Force is focused on ensuring all of us – including trans and non-binary folx – are both counted in the census and heading to the polls in November.
The bottom line is this: voting is power. There is good reason that there are so many forces working to suppress or block the vote for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ communities. By owning our power to vote we understand that we must continue to take that power to elected office, institutions and systems that continue to oppress us and challenge the very structures that would like nothing more than for LGBTQ people, women, people of color, the disabled, poor and other marginalized folx to remain powerless. We have seen what happens when we come together in the streets, on social media and in our communities. The adage that a “community united can never be defeated” has never been more true.
It is crucial our community stick together.
We must fight for all identities in our diverse community, across sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, economic status, ability, and all other identities, especially those that we with privilege may not align with personally.
Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd. Voting has already begun in some places. Get out there and vote like you and the lives of those coming after us depend on it. Because they do. For more information go to www.queerthevote.org
Fausto Cardenas (pronouns they/them/theirs) is the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Queering Democracy Community Organizer, working to coordinate the Task Force’s outreach programs to Queer The Census, Get Out The Vote in registering and empowering returning citizens, ensuring successful election cycles, and fighting for LGBTQ people of color across the board.
Queer the Vote
As the cornerstone of any democracy, free and accessible voting rights are a crucial component of an inclusive, equitable society.