If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you woke this week to the realization that once again there is reason to live in fear. Amy Coney Barrett chose the one person currently on the courts who believed that two men having sex in their home 20 years ago in Texas should remain a felony to swear her in. She comes from a conservative background that considers us abominations.
On social media I have seen posts about people deciding if they need to get legal power of attorney papers drawn up, living wills that very specifically name their spouse’s rights should they end up in the hospital and other legal documentation they stopped needing when same-sex marriage became legal nationally. Others talk about if they need to prepare to go back in the closet, women growing out their hair and buying skirts and make-up to look more traditionally feminine. Gay men discussing getting fake girlfriends.
This wouldn’t be the first time my community had to shut ourselves away back into a closet we thought we would never see again. In the 1920’s it was perfectly normal for men to dance with men or vice versa, for transgender people to live openly as the gender they truly were in nightclubs and bars. Then World War II came about and the 1950’s conservative backswing and those same people were forced back into hiding or were criminalized again. Our history has always been one on a pendulum swing.
One group I have heard little from myself is the transgender community, but this is not a shock to me. They already live in fear as this year marks the largest number of transgender people killed in the US since we started counting. And those are only the people we know about. They already know how to quietly fade into the shadows if they must, most of them have been doing that since preschool. The Trump administration has attacked them every time they needed a distraction in the news cycle these past few years. But even more than that, they have never stopped facing daily harassment even in the most progressive of states.
Our only hope of being able to remain openly ourselves is the election that ends next week. It won’t solve everything and we will still have 3 months of backlash to face before Biden and Harris can take office if they win, but it will protect us from the government swinging that closet door shut on our faces again.
So please, vote.