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Indivisible's Queer Caucus Celebrates National Coming Out Day

Indivisible’s Queer Caucus - 10/11/2018

It’s National Coming Out Day (NCOD)! And our staff’s Queer Caucus, created as a welcoming and supportive space for LGBTQ folx who do this amazing work day in and day out, wants to celebrate this day with our entire movement.

NCOD is a celebration of our coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. So we’re taking up space — for those to be proud of that decision and in honor of those have not yet come out or don’t feel safe enough. And we invite you to share today with us. Because your visibility, even as we do some of the hardest work we’ve ever done, matters.

This year marks the 30th observance of National Coming Out Day, on a date that commemorates the 1988 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. A march that taught us and the world that at its core, coming out to friends, family, our communities and ourselves is the most basic form of activism.

As our Indivisible movement expands and we hear more and more stories from group members, we increasingly see how the activism of so many is intrinsically tied to their sexuality or gender identity. How, for some of us, coming out sparked our political awakening. For others of us, it began a new identity intersecting with others that already put us at risk of discrimination and hate. For each of us, it means there is much at stake this November.

Since Trump was inaugurated, HRC advocates have tracked more than 50 deaths of transpeople, a majority being transwomen of color, due to fatal violence.

Today also marks just 25 days left until the 2018 midterm elections. And as we acknowledge that our visibility is a powerful tool to change, so too is our vote. November 6 is our greatest opportunity to fight back against Trump and his Republican party that has, for decades, waged attacks against our democracy and the most vulnerable among us. Since Trump was inaugurated, HRC advocates have tracked more than 50 deaths of transpeople, a majority being transwomen of color, due to fatal violence.

Genderfluid, non-binary, and genderqueer folx are doubly victimized when reporting violence as they are often misgendered in local police statements and media reports. The intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to continually deprive LGBTQ folx of employment, housing, access to healthcare and basic liberties that make us vulnerable. Despite this queer black activists, dreamers and womxn inevitably end up on the front lines in the most critical fights of this election.

The LGBTQ community has been a prime target for this administration’s cruelty. Trump made clear during his 2016 campaign, with his choice of one of the most anti-gay governors in the country to be his running mate, that his government would systematically attack the rights of the LGBTQ community.In office, Trump and his Republican allies have:

  • Attempted to reinstate a ban on transgender troops joining and openly serving in our military
  • Reshaped our nation’s judicial system as hostile to LGBTQ rights for decades to come.
  • Advanced the poisonous narrative that LGBTQ rights are at odds with so-called “religious freedom”
  • Denied visas for same sex partners of diplomats
  • Retracted guidance that required K-12 schools to protect, respect and ensure that trans students feel safe in schools

But the attacks don’t stop with Trump’s federal assault on LGBTQ folx. At least 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across 30 states during his first year in office, according to a new report published by LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC). These bills attacked a range LGBTQ rights ranging from relationship recognition to parental rights to conversion therapy.

The serious lack of representation at all levels of government puts the LGBTQ community at even greater risks. As the Victory Institute puts it: “There are nearly 520,000 elected positions in the United States—from members of Congress to state legislators to local school board members. Yet openly LGBTQ elected officials hold just 559 of those positions, or just 0.1 percent of elected positions nationwide.”

But there’s hope: more than 400 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender candidates are running for office this year. From school boards to the governor’s mansion, these are the leaders that will fight for anti-discrimination employment laws, to reduce homelessness among LGBTQ youth, to end aggressive policing tactics, to ensure inclusive health care, to strengthen and enforce hate crimes legislation, to end discrimination in housing and education, to ensure that economic prosperity extends to black and brown LGBTQ families, and so much more.

More than 400 gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender candidates are running for office this year!

And on November 6, we fight back at the voting booth. And by taking control of the House and maybe Senate (and hopefully a ton of seats up and down ballot!), we could make serious strides at halting the war path of this administration.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NEXT

Now is the time when our coming out can be used to advocate for ourselves and secure a future that is safer and more accepting for all of us. How can we do that? We need to take our passion—and our full identities—directly to the voters. Conversations about elections and the candidates that are supporting our community are the most effective way to make a real difference in an election.

  • We must register to vote! The deadline to register has already passed 17 states, but more than half the country still has the opportunity to register and ensure their vote can be cast.
  • #DoTheWork during our GOTV Kick-Off Weekend of Action from October 19 to 21! We know it’s only the very beginning of October, but trust us, you’ll want to start preparing now. We want every single person to hit the ground running — this is our chance to ensure we bring the blue wave to the voting booth!
  • Make the most of our Final Four Get Out The Vote from November 3 to 6! This is it. Our last chance to mobilize our communities before E-Day to cast their ballot. More than ever, we need to make this weekend count. Get ready to go BIG and leave it all out on the field!
  • Sign up for a phonebanking or textbanking shift! We have shifts for our IndivisiCandidates every single night from now until November — share our signup page now and claim a shift or two!

There is so much at stake this election. The party in power and the administration it enables actively work to undermine our power and our identities—we have to fight back with our full selves every day between now and election day. We’re going to be out as LGBTQ and out to knock doors, to phonebank, to register voters. We are out to vote and out to win. There’s 25 days left. Time to come out with us.

A Note On Coming Out

We know being out is NOT a shared experience across the LGBTQ community. For those whose queer identities intersect with other marginalizations, the coming out experience can be even more complex to navigate. It may not be the safest choice for everyone — particularly people of color, but especially women of color, and even more so for trans women of color. We hold you even closer in our hearts as we fight back against attacks on our community. If you are thinking about coming out of the closet, here is a directory of resources that might help: