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  • RMEQ

There Are Many Kinds of Courting

In the course of less than a lifetime, LGBTQ+ people have moved from invisibility to visibility in the wider society. In many parts of the country, we are covered by anti-discrimination laws and other protections. Same-sex relationships have access to legal recognition. However, there remain many areas still in need of improvement for LGBTQ+ folks—especially for transgender and gender-expansive people. But we’ve generally been moving in the right direction for several decades. As we have moved forward, we also have encountered backlash in general and during specific times in particular. That has never stopped us. 

Some of our progress has been due to judicial decisions—some at district and state courts and some that have gone all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. You may recall the names of some of the cases:  Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, Baker v. Vermont, United States v. Windsor, Obergefell v. Hodges,  and Bostock v. Clayton County, GA. The U.S. Supreme Court has not always ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. But they have in some cases that really counted. We’ve always had at least a chance to have our progress moved forward through this path. We still might make gains in the courts, but probably not often through the Supreme Court. At least, not for a while. (However, don’t give up even on that entirely: one of the pro-LGBTQ+ decisions in that litany above was written by Justice Gorsuch. Hope really does spring eternal.)

So the Supreme Court is currently not a great bet as a locus for positive change. That's a sad but pretty much unavoidable conclusion. Not that we'll stop trying. Even if we lose at the Supreme Court, it’s often worth articulating our case and making a record for history.  

As presently constituted, the U. S. Supreme Court offers little hope. And Congress is bottle-necked enough that we have limited chances of using that as an avenue for progress. 

But the Court and Congress aren't the only shows in town. We can—and must—still make change. We must go to the states, to the counties, to municipalities, to school boards and to any other institutional entities in our midst.

And there's one other really important court we must go to: the court of public opinion.  

We do it by being out (as out as it is safe to be). 

By talking with other LGBTQ+ people about how we are continuing to make change. By telling cis heterosexuals what our lives are like and what we would like them to do.  By working on campaigns. 

By voting. 

By writing to our representatives at any levels of government. 

By engaging in civil conversations with our families. 

By writing op-eds, blogs, and letters to the editor. 

By using social media as a voice for fairness. 

By running for office. 

By getting support when we are scared. 

By giving support to others when they are afraid. 

By learning about other forms of oppression and working to undo them. 

By knowing the history of LGBTQ+ people. 

By channeling anger into productive paths to change.

By reminding other LGBTQ+ people how far we've come. 

By supporting queer and trans culture in its many forms. 

By never turning back.  

So, we may not be able to assume the Supremes are on our side at the moment. But, in the name of love and fairness, we will not stop moving forward. 

See you in court!  


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