Before we talk about why we resist, it’s important to understand who we are. Because who we are is at the heart of why we resist, and our understanding of who we are has morphed over time.
Intersectionality is a foreign word to many people, but it is the essence of who we are as a community. It’s time we awaken to the simple fact that we cannot be reduced to 5 or 10 letters. With this new understanding, we can see we are part of a much larger, more diverse human family than ever before! We are a beautiful tapestry of concentric circles. We no longer just belong to the L or G or B or T or Q; we belong to those and many other communities. We are people of color and of faith. We are disabled. We are immigrants of every status. We are dreamers. We have HIV. We are educators. We are women, men, allies, friends, and family. We are teenagers and seniors. We are union members. We are wounded veterans and recent West Point graduates. We are parents and grandparents. Imagine all the possibilities. No longer do we need to identify to a singular silo. We are so much more. We truly are the beauty of the rainbow.
Why is this important? At #ResistMarch we say, “when they come for one of us, they come for all of us!” It’s the pact we are making with each other as a community. Even though a law or other action may not be aimed directly at me, a cisgender Caucasian gay guy, if it’s aimed at any one in our community, I will rally around them in support. It’s our very own NATO pact!
When 10 transgender people of color are murdered in the United States since January 1, 2017, we must rally around our community. March in the streets with them. Attend public forums in support, donate to their charities and anything else required. We must #resist.
When the United States Congress votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it may not affect your health insurance or anyone of your neighbors’, but it will impact our community disproportionality. We must be ready to lend a hand. We must #resist.
When the state of Texas or South Carolina pass bills that marginalize or, even worse, criminalize our community, you may not feel that in Hell’s Kitchen, on Lake Shore Drive, in South Beach or the Hills of Los Angeles, but we must stand with our whole community wherever they call home. We must #resist.
When desperate Chechens are denied visas to enter the United States despite the obvious human rights abuses they are suffering, we must #resist!
When people of the Muslim faith are profiled and detained simply because of how they worship, we must #resist.
We resist because our work is not complete. We resist because there is a coordinated effort to criminalize us, roll back our rights and drive us into the closet. We resist because some of our lives might be better, but millions have been left behind. If we don’t lend a hand, who will?
My good friend Alan Uphold says something all the time, and it bears repeating: “This. Is. Not. Normal.” We must not let the crazy behavior of an extreme conservative minority set us back decades with their nefarious dealings with the Russians or their unholy alliance with those who would criminalize and marginalize us—or worse. We must not let President Trump’s erratic behavior, lack of discipline with respect to the crown jewels of our national security and work ethic become the new normal. We must resist these things at every turn.
The best way to resist is to vote. Chad Griffin of HRC told me this week that our community makes up 5% of the electorate. 5%! In elections that that are won by a few hundred votes, we can make the difference, and more elections than you can imagine—particularly on the front lines of our fight at the state and local level—are decided by tiny margins. We must get serious about voting. Like wearing a seatbelt in a car or wearing a helmet on a bike, we must protect our democracy and our lives by voting. It must be second nature, and the peer pressure to vote must be overwhelming. We are sitting where we are not because they got more people to vote for them, but because too many of us did note vote. We
must #resist apathy.
You are a member of a colorful and incredibly diverse family. Like any family, we may not agree on every approach. I ask that, in this time of serious political peril, we spend more time listening to each other and less time convening the circular firing squad. My way is NOT the only way. Your way is not the only way. Every decision is not a fight to the death. We must figure out a way to lock arms and move forward together. Our lives and liberties depend on it. That is why the first phrase in our #ResistMarch mission statement is that we “#Resist the efforts to divide us”.
One last request. When Sunday, June 11 rolls around, it is my hope that you’ll #resist the desire to stay in bed. I know 8 AM on a Sunday morning feels early. But your presence is not only requested; it is required. Our community is counting on you. Being at Hollywood and Highland will be the unifying moment that our community needs. So #Resist every single impulse that would prevent you from joining us.
Originally written for the Los Angeles Blade