This Fall, voters in New Jersey and Virginia will elect governors and state legislators while voters across the country will be able to participate in local elections. These are important opportunities to show up in support of the LGBTQ community. 2021 has seen a rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation, specifically targeting transgender and non-binary folks. You can view and track related legislation at this website put together by Freedom for All Americans and the Equality Federation. It is important to send legislators a signal that voters will stand against homophobia and transphobia this Fall.
Beyond state elections, there are also municipal and school board elections occuring around the country. These have proved to be battlegrounds in the fight for LGBTQ equality. Some candidates are running virulently transphobic campaigns, hoping that inciting violence against the LGBTQ community will lead to victory. From Wisconsin, to Virginia, to Idaho, anti-LGBTQ attacks have become a rallying cry for some candidates. Before voting in next week’s elections, research local candidates and their stance on issues affecting the LGBTQ community.
In Virginia, which features a gubernatorial election as well as elections for the State Senate and House of Delegates, there has been a series of attacks against LGBTQ students. Lawmakers recently passed legislation mandating non-discrimination for LGBTQ students but left implementation up to school boards. At a recent meeting in Hanover County, anti-LGBTQ activists complained about the policy by voicing transphobic concerns. This follows a court course, settled in August, in which the Gloucester County School Board agreed to pay transgender student Gavin Grimm $1.3 million. Grimm sued the school board after he was not allowed to use the bathroom that corresponded with his gender identity. Gavin’s story is just one example of the discrimination transgender students are facing in Virginia and around the country. With no system for accountability, it is up to local schools boards to implement and uphold non-discrimination policies passed at the state level. Attacks against transgender students are all too common, causing real and lasting damage to he queer community and transgender youth.
There is no place for transphobia in education policy or school board meetings. This election season remain vigilent of anti-LGBTQ attacks.
One of the best ways to stand up against hate is to vote next week! You can find voting resources and information including registration and polling information at www.glaad.org/vote. Additionally, check out the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s endorsed candidates. This is a great way to identify and support queer political power around the country!