*by Michelle E. Brown (Between the Lines Newspaper January 17, 2019)
It’s January 2019 and we haven’t had our gay march yet!
In 2017 we joined the women. We shared our outrage and fears from the results of the 2016 election of No. 45.
It was the first women’s march and that was OK. We were all traumatized. We all shook our heads in collective disbelief as this era of injustice, fearmongering, hatred and regressive politics began.
Just as the rhetoric of the campaign warned us that a Trump presidency would pose as great a threat to our community as it did to every woman taking it to the streets that January.
Many of us felt the double threat not only as women but because we carried the LGBTQ card as lesbians and trans women. We knew there was no shortage of hatred in that toxic orange fog – women, immigrants, LGBTQ, the poor – we all were feeling the clear and present danger of the incoming administration.
Again in 2018, under the umbrella of the Women’s March, we rallied to take our power to the polls. We were again included on the stage, recognized in the remarks and marched shoulder to shoulder with our sisters.
We celebrated the wins of our LGBTQ candidates from the 2017 elections including Danica Roem in Virginia and Andrea Jenkins in Minnesota along with the other 20-plus women elected across the country. Our anger had purpose and in solidarity we vowed to take our power to the polls for the midterm elections
And we did! In 2018 record numbers registered to vote. Women, people of color LGBTQ candidates ran for office. We did what we promised showing up at the polls, “grabbing them by the midterms,” flipping the House of Representatives from red to blue.
A record 117 women were elected across the country in various positions and with at least 153 of the 225 LGBTQ and Ally candidates, endorsed by the Victory Fund, also winning office.
This January, 2019, women will gather in cities across the country to celebrate the #WomensWave.
Unlike in past years, when attendees included waves of “pink pussy” hats which some found offensive to transgender women, gender nonbinary people and to women of color, it’s been suggested that marchers wear blue perhaps because many called for a #BlueWave as well as a #WomensWave last November.
And like in past years, many of us will again join in and march shoulder to shoulder with our sisters to send a message to the grand old party of patriarchy still controlling the White House and Senate that more change is coming. But this year, maybe members of the LGBTQ community should step out from under the umbrella and celebrate our Queer wave!
We need to celebrate our victories and strategize how to not only build upon the momentum of the 2018 midterms but work towards future victories to protect our rights while gaining greater equality and justice in 2020 and beyond at local, state and national levels.
I am a Democrat, a woman, a person of color and African-American; like many in the LGBTQ community, I have been let down on all fronts when I’ve stepped out in my rainbow cape in all my queer glory.
Don’t get me wrong I am excited that we had blue/women’s Wave in November, but let’s be real how often have we been left out in the rain for political expediency by our political “friends.” This big umbrella can have leaks.
Our transgender community is still under attack, dying and being disrespected even in death. The current administration has tried repeatedly to enact policies harmful to LGBTQ individuals and families. And the antagonistic, homophobic and transphobic climate created by these policies and rhetoric has seeped into other levels of government and discourse across the country.
Despite higher visibility in the media and politics, our seat at the table has not resulted in a permanent change of what’s being served.
Do you feel safer, more optimistic about our path to justice and inclusion than you did before November 2016? For many, especially our LGBTQ elders, youth and in many communities, the answer is often a resounding no!!
But now is not the time to be afraid, loose our resolve or go back in the closet. In 2019 it’s time we have our own march and it is happening in Detroit at Creating Change.
Creating Change was started in 1988 one year after the national march for gay and lesbian rights. 32 years after that march the message to the LGBTQ community remains the same beyond marching “go home and get to work.”
And that’s exactly what will be happening from Jan. 23 to 27, when over 3,000 LGBTQ activist come home to what has been affectionately called our “annual gay family reunion” to meet, greet, educate, strategize and celebrate the state of our community.
So, let’s put on our rainbow capes, bandanas or other gay apparel and march into Creating Change this January with such resolve, so much determination, with all our queerness that the world sees we’re not going any place.
Let’s march into Creating Change then go home and get to work not on a wave, but on a freaking rainbow tsunami!