Like many people right now, especially progressives who work in politics and government, I have a mixed bag of emotions. What stands out for me, though, is a feeling of layered relief: a relief from the pain of the last four years, and an overwhelming, hopeful relief of what is to come.
This close call and the even tighter race for the Senate is a foreshadowing. The Democratic Party must join the progressive wave or dissolve. Otherwise, we will self-implode.
As a Queer rights activist, my personal standings align with the super-majority of fellow Queer people who statistically preferred Bernie, then Liz, for president. Among LGBTQ+ voters nationally, the two led in most cases by double-digit margins.
I know your administration alone will aid in bringing much-needed justice to the Queer community. At least the justice lost under this presidency, the justice lost that can be returned.
I know that LGBTQ+ students and youth nationwide will get back their rights under your future Secretary of Education. I know that your future Secretary of Housing and Urban Development will reinstate the original Equal Access Rule. I know that you will reverse the ban on transgender people in the military. I know that LGBTQ+ people will get back their health care nondiscrimination protections, and rights, and in many more areas where they have been stripped away.
Maybe Queer advancements can be made as well. Your administration could start to plan against anti-LGBTQ+ action that will come out of the Supreme Court. Your administration can begin to tackle the alarming rate at which Black transwomen are being murdered. Major mental health and suicide prevention measures can be taken for our LGBTQ+ youth, along with advocating for federal policy toward K-12 LGBTQ+ curriculum and resources. Reviving the need for the Equality Act can also occur.
It is unfortunate that our nation’s bar has been leveled to such a low standard. Obtaining our basic means of survival is not a success; it is representative of many years of failure.
But I know under your administration that the Queer people of this country will be much safer. However, “safe” is the bare minimum.
Let’s seize this opportunity not just to do damage control but to address the negligence of structural issues that got us to where we are in the first place. There is much more work that needs to be done, and that is true progress.
Though the Queer community has specific concerns that need to be addressed, what specifically uplifts LGBTQ+ lives, what affects us all on a systemic level, is what gets at the root of genuine Queer policy. The work toward human understanding and real equality never truly ends.
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One fine body…