The Consequences of Elections on LGBTQ People
Whether we choose to believe it or not, the outcome of an election affects all of us, and this is especially true of local elections and midterms. Though the media focuses intensely on presidential elections and voter turnout is almost always higher for these than for midterms (FairVote), the midterm elections represent more changes to the everyday lives of Americans.
Of course, certain groups are going to be more affected by the outcome of an election, such as people of color, women, the disabled, low-income individuals, and those in the LGBTQ community. It is always important to consider the ways in which an election will affect you and your community.
Your Issues, Your Vote
As a part of the LGBTQ community, your vote will affect your rights in the future. When people who belong to communities like these stay at home and don’t vote, the candidates who have their own best interests (and not yours) in mind are the ones who wind up going to Congress to represent you. This is also true of those who represent you in your home state and local governments.
There are plenty of issues at stake for LGBTQ people during this midterm election, which, according to Project Q, include
• Violence (which affects LGBTQ people more than many other groups)
• Transgender rights (which the current administration, as well as many local and state governments, is attempting to strip away)
• Racism (which is even more likely to lead to serious consequences, including violence, for LGBTQ people of color)
• Homelessness (of which 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ)
• Healthcare (which sees more LGBTQ people uninsured each year than those in the rest of the population)
Many issues are also at stake during this and every other election. Just because a president isn’t being chosen doesn’t mean the election itself doesn’t matter. In fact, the more local the election, the more likely you are to be affected by it on a day-to-day basis.
A Rainbow Wave
An unprecedented number of LGBTQ candidates won primaries this year prior to the 2018 midterms (HuffPost). This is both exciting and deeply meaningful, as it could have longstanding importance for LGBTQ individuals for years to come. Having more LGBTQ people making and enforcing our laws will ensure that there is more fairness and consideration given to this important community in our nation. But it can only happen if voters do their part, which is necessary to providing beneficial outcomes to the community as opposed to negative ones.
Voting Your Conscience
When you’re told to vote your conscience, you may not be sure what this statement actually means. Rather than feeling that you can only vote if a candidate is perfect or completely suits your needs and desires as a voter, the phrase truly means to vote the way your conscience tells you to, the way in which you will be most helpful to your fellow man. It can be frustrating to feel stuck in a two-party system, but there is a clear divide when it comes to understanding which of the parties is focused on the best interests of LGBTQ voters.
In the past two years, the Trump administration has given rise to more religious hatred toward LGBTQ individuals, removed funding from LGBTQ organizations, and allowed bigoted people to think their beliefs are valid (Daily Beast). Voting blue doesn’t sit well with every individual, but voting your conscience is about knowing what the best option is between the options you have and choosing that one. Only this way can we keep working to protect one another and our community as a whole.
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