When I talk to LGBTQ+ folks across our communities in Minnesota and beyond I hear a great deal of fear and uncertainty about what 2024 has in store.
We are living in a time when LGBTQ+ people across the country are facing unprecedented attacks in legislatures, public rhetoric, and in our daily lives.
Already in 2024, we are seeing fast-moving efforts to take away our rights and to erase our existence from public life. These include our neighbors to the south in Iowa who considered stripping gender identity from the state’s civil rights protections, the Ohio legislature overriding a veto to ban gender affirming care and athletics participation for youth and proposing rules to greatly restrict care for adults, Florida barring trans folks from changing their sex on drivers licenses and proposing an expansion of its infamous “Don’t Say Gay” legislation to workplaces, Texas investigating out-of-state providers of gender-affirming care, Utah enacting a bathroom ban for public buildings, and that’s just this month. Even here in Minnesota we see continuing efforts to challenge books, Pride flags, and other inclusion efforts in communities across our state.
It’s a lot.
And that’s the point.
A big part of the strategy is to overwhelm us, to get us to give up because it’s all too much.
Despite all of these very real harms, I am deeply optimistic about the future and our ability to shift these narratives
We’ve done it before around marriage equality and we’re doing it again today.
In 2023 we advanced historic wins for LGBTQ+ equity including banning conversion “therapy,” making Minnesota a trans refuge state, updating the Minnesota Human Rights Act, expanding funding for gender neutral facilities in schools, repealing our anti-sodomy statute, establishing a state LGBTQIA2S+ council…and more.
In 2024 that work will continue as we advance legislation around health care, parentage, schools, and our fundamental rights here in the state of Minnesota.
I like to say that here in Minnesota we are in the business of cultivating hope, and organizers across the country are seeing our wins and are inspired.
This organizing across the country inspires me to be in this shared work. For all of the challenges facing our movement, I see communities coming together to care for one another, and folks stepping up to speak to values of welcome and inclusion in every state.
The truth is we can win this—we are winning this.
Whether you are LGBTQ+ or an ally, I encourage you to stay hopeful and stay in the work. Now more than ever we need people to be engaged, to speak up, to share your story, to support the organizations doing this work, and to care for community.