Pride is upon us again, and in a time of turmoil for our community “Unity” takes on a new meaning. It feels like a lifetime since the 2016 election, yet we still don’t know what it means for us and our families.
I have been an organizer and leader in the LGBTQ+ community for 19 years. I’ve seen new meds for HIV/AIDS patients that ended the “death sentence” and Gay-Straight Alliances become commonplace in high schools. I’ve seen New Mexico ban workplace discrimination and a nation legalize Marriage Equality. It’s been a great time to be queer in New Mexico, but the cloud over these feelings is especially heavy during Pride Month.
This year there is even more of a reason for us to look at Pride not only as a time of celebration for our fabulous queer community but also as a rallying point to re-energize for the fight. A fight that now, especially, is about us coming together with other communities to protect each other.
We know that attacks on organizations like Planned Parenthood are about shaming of sex; which is also the root of attempts to strip LGBTQ folks of their access to healthcare through so-called Religious Freedom Laws. The attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters, especially Mexican and Muslim Immigrants, is about stigmatizing those not like us, much like regulating bathrooms based on body parts is about stigmatizing our Trans-siblings for being different. Our opposition is the same, whether we are looking for access to abortion care or trying to just pee in peace, whether we want to make a better life for our children in a new land or we just want health insurance that covers our HIV meds. And make no mistake that opposition is emboldened, they are excited, and they are fighting to take us back into a terrible time! We cannot let them win this battle, but we can only beat them as a unified community.
It is time for us to stop working on “our issues” and work on an overall unified social justice front. To come out for marches and phone banks, for rallies and Legislative Hearings and to remind leaders – but more importantly ourselves and our communities – that Immigrants and Trans folks are not scapegoats, that women and HIV+ gay men are worthy and deserving of care with dignity and free from judgment. It is time for the LGBTQ+ community to act united, to unify our whole communities to fight back and resist. We are Queer immigrants, we are Trans HIV+ people, we are bisexual women who need abortions and we are gay men of color who fear police brutality – and we know these issues are all part of who we are, and we will fight them all together!
This pride will be our chance to share a new message of unity – and I hope you’ll join me in spreading that message – we will resist!
Director of Public Affairs – New Mexico
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico