In 2020, people have responded to extraordinary trauma by taking extraordinary actions. We have both marched in the streets and kept our social distance. We have taken precautions to protect our health from a virus, and also put our lives on the line to remind our government and society that the systemic killing of Black and Brown people is wrong, whether it’s done by agents of the state or by private citizens.
We’ve taken a lot of drastic actions this 2020.
I’m asking you to take another action. VOTE.
I know, some of you are thinking, “Does my vote really count?”
Yes, it does. If it didn’t, people wouldn’t be working so hard to prevent you from voting.
There are eleven million LGBTQ voters in the country. We are a formidable voting bloc, and we span all ages, races, genders, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. We have the power to say “no more” to leaders who continue to oppress the LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. We have the ability to push candidates to support policies that protect us and our loved ones.
The presidential race will determine the direction of our country. Our next president is going to nominate judges who will decide on our lives, and how freely we can live them. The next president will issue executive orders that either double down on discrimination, religious refusals, and outright banning of LGBTQ people living out our lives in public…or they will repeal the harmful policies that have inflicted pain and trauma on the community over the last four years.
But state and local elections have an even more direct and immediate impact on LGBTQ people’s daily lives. Just imagine what pain and suffering we can end by electing justice-oriented mayors, judges and sheriffs. Imagine how we could make our lives and the lives of our fellow citizens so much better if we had equality-minded state legislatures and governors.
If we aren’t voting to determine the direction of our country, than who is? People who don’t have our basic safety as a priority. People who wish to actively harm us. People who want to divide us and pit us against other marginalized groups, leaving each of us to fight over an ever-shrinking set of American rights, like pigeons fighting over breadcrumbs.
We cannot sit this one out. Especially for those who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to vote.
Visit glaad.org/action and take the pledge to vote now.
There will be attempts to stop you from voting, to dissuade you from voting, to try to convince you that voting is not worth the time or effort.
We’ve already seen blatant examples of voter suppression in primaries in Wisconsin and Georgia, and elsewhere. We should prepare for more of that in November. We’ve seen voter ID laws work to disenfranchise transgender people, people of color, students, the elderly, first nations communities, and the poor. Expect those barriers, and prepare for them now. I know. It shouldn’t be that way. But at this moment, we need to prepare for the worst. Make a plan, and vote as early and safely as you can.
If your state has made absentee ballots or vote-by-mail easier because of the coronavirus, take advantage of that. If you have early voting, do it. Know what the voting laws are in your state, even while some of them are still changing. You can sign up for the most updated and accurate information at glaad.org/action. Check your registration status, and make sure you are registered.
Beyond the eleven million LGBTQ voters, imagine if we can get our equality minded friends and family to join us in raising our voice, and electing leaders that are competent, and care about the communities they are serving. We have the influence to sway our own friends and family into voting for our (and probably their) self-interest. But your friends and family won’t know what issues are important to you unless you tell them. So tell them.
GLAAD is helping you reach your family, friends, and local community with the LGBTQ issues this election. Sign up for an upcoming GLAAD Media Institute course 2020 Election Engagement for LGBTQ Equality. More than ever, we need voters who understand the impact of elections on the LGBTQ community. That means they need to hear from you about why LGBTQ issues are such an important part of the election conversation. Together, we will discuss how to tell your story, make voters understand what issues are important to you and the LGBTQ community, and explore resources to find accurate information and counter fake news about the LGBTQ community.
It is naive to believe that voting is a fix-all. Our country has a long history of oppression and discrimination that will not be easily overcome. However, voting in equality-minded candidates is one tangible step that will make our country live up to the ideals we say we hold. Freedom. And Justice for All!