On Pride and Policy

 

If you were to ask me my political party, I wouldn’t be able to give a great answer. Certainly not one that fits into the rather constricting architecture of the United States electoral system. Yes, I have voted Democratic at every election since I turned 18. I have been interested in some of the views and platforms of third-parties, but my cynical self wouldn’t be able to forgive itself if I tossed my vote to an impossible cause and ended up with a nut-job in office that I could have voted against in a more meaningful way. So, in any official sense, I’m a registered Democrat. I don’t call myself that, but I vote Democratic, so whatever.

I think that I only vote blue because of some perverse sense of necessity. Back during the election cycle, when I would debate politics with friends and acquaintances, I would be doggedly unshakeable in my opposition to the Republican ticket. True, even if I were to forgo all policy leanings, I could never support the most recent Republican candidate for President based on what he’d said and done, but that’s beside the point. The fact of the matter is that the Democratic party has become the party advocating for LGBTQIA+ issues.

In response to the entrenched support Republicans have from the religious right, the DNC has capitalized on supporting the people most demonized by staunch conservatives. This created a vicious cycle wherein all sorts of minorities, including the LGBTQIA+ folks, people of color, and certain religious groups are all forced to support the Democratic ticket or risk rollbacks of policy, hate crimes, and general indifference from the ruling class. This is where I feel like I need to vote Democratic: I cannot afford to stand by and let someone gain power and proceed to actively destroy my own political standing as a queer person; as long as the Republican party seeks to halt social progress, I have to vote against them.

But the DNC should not expect blind support from me, just because I am a part of the resistance. I’ve noticed a trend in how they treat queer issues. Democrats like to hang the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges ruling around their necks in much the same way that some “allies” like to say, ‘Hey, look! I have a gay friend, I’m such a good ally!” There have been limited meaningful developments on the national stage for LGBTQIA+ people since Obergefell, and Democrats haven’t capitalized on public support for additional protections like same-sex marriage.

That ruling, that legalized same-sex marriage, was a first high-level victory in a decades long battle for equality, but it was in no means the end of the fight. It’s the rough equivalent of emancipation for African Americans. Sure, it was an absolutely massive step forward, but racism both in fact and in policy remains a problem to this day.

But how about now, two years after Obergefell was made law? Where is the outrage for the fifteen transgender people violently killed so far in 2017? When will we be able to freely change our gender markers without having to have reassignment surgery? When will people stop caring which bathroom you go into? When will hate crimes be called what they are, and the criminals in these cases face the proper punishment? When will blaming of rape survivors stop? When will peaceful Muslims stop being attacked out of fear of radical individuals half a world away? When will Latin Americans crossing the border be accepted as humans deserving of basic dignity and a good livelihood, which is all they want in their journeys?

I don’t devote myself to any political party. Instead, I call myself an intersectionalist. Minorities that feel oppression are connected in their experiences. Intersecting forms of discrimination should unite the minorities in the United States, creating a common cause to fight for. This mindset was most clearly shown at the Women’s March on Washington in January. We may have been marching for women, but we were also speaking out against systemic racism, islamophobia, xenophobia, and the lack of visibility for the letters other than LG in the queer community.

I want the Democratic party to learn from the Women’s March and this year’s Pride Month. We are loud and we are numerous, but most importantly we are not going anywhere. The Democratic Party needs a message, and I want this intersectionality of minorities to be the platform that Democrats need going forward. They lost the election on an “at least I’m not that other guy” platform and it’s continuing to fail them. The LGBTQIA+ want the Democrats to fight for them. I mean, heck, President Trump would rather recognize June as National Homeownership Month than Pride Month. It shouldn’t be that hard for Democrats to figure out who we favor, generally. The DNC just needs to listen in to what we’ve been saying.

 

I wrote this as a response to a very on-point article I read, give it a look:

https://theestablishment.co/why-trans-activists-cant-trust-the-left-3bfa22928ddd

 

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