By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
Recent polls have revealed Americans are not paying attention to national issues like our faltering democracy, the January 6th Committee investigation, or the covid-19 pandemic which literally threatens their lives. What’s important to them is what they see in a real way every day, inflation. When the rising cost of everything is tangible and ongoing, it’s understandable that they’re not focusing on existential issues like civil rights.
The problem is once those issues do become tangible and are affecting them in a real way, it’s because the water has reached their doorstep, when they should have been paying attention to the alarms about the cracks in the damn. Such is the case with LGBT+ rights and protections, and our Community needs to listen up, listen up now, and unite to fight the “New Right.”
The accelerated devolution of the Republican party into an authoritarian white “Christian” supremacy party is overwhelmingly evident. They’ve legislated attacks on people of color through voter suppression laws and instituted bans on teaching accurate history and discussions of race. Texas passed an abhorrent attack on a women’s right to choose, when 80% of Americans believe abortion rights should remain in place. But if there is anything the New Right hates more than people of color and believes in controlling more than women, it’s the LGBT+ Community. They hate who we are, who we love, our families, and that we are proud of it.
Given the chance, they wouldn’t just relegate us back to second-class citizenship, they’d make the pre-Stonewall era look like paradise. In fact, they’re already working on it, most notably by taking advantage of the conservative balance in the Supreme Court. While the law in Louisiana seems poised to gut Roe v Wade, it was the draconian law passed in Texas that fast tracked a complete abortion ban before SCOTUS. Given its success before the conservative court, Texas teed up a repeal of same-sex marriage in October claiming state’s individual rights are not subject to the ruling as reported in the Boston Globe.
The 6 – 3 conservative majority aside, Justices Alito and Thomas have been chomping at the bit to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges since 2015. Never mind, that more 300,000 same sex couples have been married under it and that the sky has not fallen. Nevertheless, as NPR reported in 2020, Thomas and Alito are obviously on a mission of inequality.
But more immediate and possibly more alarming is the bill working its way through the Florida legislature referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” which prohibits discussions about all things LGBT+ in schools and requires educators to report non-hetero conforming behavior of students to parents. The Randy Report posted this article.
All of the advocates opposed to this horrific and dangerous law are fighting the good fight for our community and our kids. But the sad fact is the people they’re fighting don’t care about LGBT+ kids. They don’t care if they’re hurt or humiliated or outed to their parents. They believe who we are is choice, that should not be tolerated, and we can change. I know this for a fact; I’m related to these people.
Another sign of regression happened this week in Pennsylvania, again from The Randy Report.
On Monday, Chambersburg did repeal their protections. Candidate for Pennsylvania Lt Governor, current State Representative, and openly gay man Brian Sims tweeted this in response.
SHAMEFUL: On Monday night, Republicans in Chambersburg voted to repeal their LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination ordinance. This means there are now NO legal protections for LGBTQ+ people in the Borough. https://t.co/SerPxO0myX
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) January 26, 2022
These anti-LGBT+ actions are happening everywhere the New Right is in power. Almost a year ago, it was in Arkansas.
Last May, we posted about laws attacking some of our Community’s most vulnerable, transgender youth who are simply trying to compete in athletics.
In July, Ohio passed its anti-LGBTQ health care law.
These laws chip away at the gains we’ve made towards equality and civil rights for nearly 53 years, and they must be stopped before we lose it all. If voting rights can’t get passed and a policing reform bill can’t even get written, trust and believe the Equality Act is going nowhere fast. Even if it were passed, the New Right would challenge it before SCOTUS or repeal it the next time they took power, and why we can’t let that happen.
After seizing power in 1933, the NAZI party issued the Nuremberg Laws in September 1935. The pair of laws were “for the protection of German blood and German honor” (sounds like “voter integrity”) and stripped Jewish people of their citizenship, rights, and protections. Imagine the New Right seizing power in America (they almost did on January 6th) and issuing laws for the protection of American morals and honor from the LGBT+ and denying our rights and protections.
The former President has been using the NAZI playbook from the day he announced he was running in 2015. After he took office, the Republicans fell in step with him and his methods. Now the New Right is hoping we haven’t been paying attention and will let them keep repeating the plays of the past.
Most Americans who are not paying attention to national issues like democracy have never had to fight for their right to exist or their right to marry and have a family. But we have; we know what it’s like and we are not going back again. We know how to stand up and fight back because it’s our heritage. It’s who we are as a people and a Community. We cannot allow those who would strip away our existence and our humanity the power to do so.
The New Right must be stopped now before they can reverse anymore of our rights and liberties. They must be voted out of office and their new candidates defeated before they can get a foot in the door. Every office matters and every vote matters because everyone in America matters.