The LGBTQ community has been politically active and engaged for as long as most of us can remember. Ever since Marsha P. Johnson threw the first brick at Stonewall – and even before that – we have been fighting for our right to exist, to love, to express ourselves, and to be recognized. We’ve seen politicians become more responsive, we’ve seen our legally protected rights expand, and we’ve seen out and proud politicians ascend to offices as high as United States Senator.
And yet, nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ eligible voters are not registered. And even when we are registered to vote, we don’t turn out in the numbers we could. This is not insignificant. In 2016, LGBTQ voters in just three states could have changed the outcome of the election. There were enough LGBTQ individuals living in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that had they all voted, they would have significantly outweighed the margins by which each state was won.
Under this administration, our rights have been under attack. From guidance in the Department of Education and Department of Housing and Human Services that discriminates against LGBTQ Americans, to the pending Supreme Court case on Title VII that could endanger protections for LGBTQ Americans, our community has faced discrimination that has erased many of the steps forward made in the previous administration.
Now, we have a chance to make our votes count in one of the most important elections in recent history. In 2020, the House, one-third of the Senate, and the president are up for election. There are also countless local and state-level positions up for election. Already, in the 2020 primaries, we have seen remarkable turnout in the LGBTQ community. In almost every state that has held a primary so far, LGBTQ voters turned out at double the rates they did in the 2016 primaries. By continuing this trend and turning out our communities, we can help ensure that we elect officials who are dedicated to fighting for and protecting our rights.