On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will begin the process of deciding whether or not LGBTQ workers can be fired for who they are. The thing is, me and other queer folks shouldn’t have to beg straight people to treat us like human beings.
Aimee Stephens was fired from her job at a funeral home for coming out as a transgender woman. Gerald Bostock lost his job as a social worker after he became a part of a gay softball league. Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, was fired for making an offhanded joke about being gay to a client.
In the year 2019, I am afraid of being myself in public, lest I lose my job. I am afraid of going to a gay bar, lest I get shot. I am afraid of being queer, period, lest I get kidnapped, tortured and left to die. I am afraid to live.
Do you know what it’s like to have your very existence seemingly up for debate? To hear your relatives say that they don’t “agree” with transgender people and knowing that you have to keep that part of yourself hidden from the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally? To see strangers make faces at you for daring to look different in public? To fear for your very life every time you see a MAGA hat?
It’s hard enough to be openly LGBTQ in this administration. We shouldn’t have to defend our right to work on top that. This shouldn’t be an issue, but here we are.
“Allies,” it is not enough for you to say that you personally don’t care about our queerness. You can’t say “I support gay rights!” and expect us to give you a gold star (Taylor Swift, I’m looking at you.) If you truly want to be our “ally,” then you need to be much more vocal about our grievances.
Where were you when transgender people were barred from joining the military? Where were you when Trump chose a vice president who suggested gay conversion therapy, recognized as a form of torture, in lieu of practical solutions to an HIV outbreak? Where were you when adoption agencies turned away gay couples for no reason? Where were you when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was passed? Where were you when the Reagan administration did nothing about the HIV/AIDS crisis?
At the very least, please listen to us. Be there for us. Talk about the Supreme Court case Tuesday to your non-LGBTQ peers, and don’t just talk about it with us for brownie points. Sharing one Facebook post isn’t going to magically make you a better person. Actually educate yourself on this and many other problems the LGBTQ community faces on a daily basis.
For more information on Tuesday’s court case, check out this Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-term-to-begin-with-blockbuster-question-is-it-legal-to-fire-someone-for-being-gay-or-transgender/2019/10/03/b3b08a46-e15d-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html
Consider donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to support legal action like this in the future: https://www.aclu.org/
And please, please, please, don’t forget to register to vote and make a point to vote in every and all elections.