We need to demand more out of this life. More out of our politicians and more out of ourselves. We won marriage equality, and it was an incredible win. One of the greatest moments in history. Showing the world that we matter, and that our love is just as valid as anyone else's. It was a magical moment in this life of ours. Our love, finally justified in the eyes of the law.
But we have gotten complacent. New laws are being put onto the books. Politicians are coming out of the woodwork trying to bring in laws that lay waste to everything we built. Bathroom bills, "religious freedom" bills, permission to discriminate bills. If they couldn't get marriage equality taken down, then this is how they will respond. Even the nominees for POTUS are trying to throw our progress into the garbage. It wasn't just a few weeks ago that Ted Cruz was at the Town Hall meeting, right in front of out newscaster Anderson Cooper, saying that we need to revoke the SCOTUS ruling. And he meant it.
They are coming after us. They don't care about us. They want us gone. They want us ridiculed. They know that we are happy and complacent right now because we won marriage. But that is not going to stop them. In fact, it gives them the perfect opportunity to pounce. They will find new and innovative ways to screw us over, So, we have to be better. We have to stay alive. We can't rest on our laurels. We have to demand politicians take responsibility for the things they say. We have to vote the ones into office who are looking out for us. We need to be ever vigilant. When a politician tries to bring laws onto the books that hurt us, we need to act and call them out.
We need to demand more out of the LGBT organizations that claim to support us. They have done a world of good for us, but they still must act in our interests. They have to advocate for us. They have the platform to do it, they have the dollars behind them, and the lawyers at the ready. But that means we have to continue giving as well. Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal, the Victory Fund, HRC - we must let them know that we are still there for them, and they must fight for us every step of the way. We can't just sit back and think the fight is over. It's not over. HIV-AIDS is still very much part of our lives. Schools still don't have the right plans in place to show tolerance to kids of all orientations. Advocacy groups are running out of money at a time when we need their voices more than ever. We have to be there for them. And they have to be there for us.
And look, it's happening. It's coming along. We are fighting back. Businesses are refusing to do business in places like Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia (before the Governor was smart enough to kill the bill). But our LGBT brothers and sisters need to continue to make their platforms known. Whether it's online, on social media, or at the rallies - we have voices that must shout their cries of justice to the capital buildings. Shake the foundations. Topple their hate.
What's the next phase in the LGBT movement? There are many answers to this question. But the big things to note are still as necessary as they were before. We must keep standing up for ourselves and making our voices heard. We must keep donating to the causes we believe in. At the same time, LGBT businesses, and advocacy groups, and education networks must figure out ways to remain sustainable. They, too, must believe that they still have a purpose in this world. They have a role to play. Their presence is essential in a world that is always trying to close us down. Too often have I heard of businesses closing, or education networks barely being able to keep the lights on. Your role still matters. You must figure out how to remain a player in this battle. It is on us to support each other. It is on us to fight back. Being out and proud is necessary. Being out and proud and making your voice heard, that's important, too. If you won't show it with your words, say it with your donations. Find your way to make your position felt. Because being quiet is doing nothing but making things worse.
They are never going to give up trying to push us down. It's time we all recognize this, if we haven't already. We can't just hide out in our homes, content in the lives we lead. We have to keep up the battle. Because the less we do, the more they take over. The less we talk and rattle their cages, the more you're going to see these bills become laws. It's not enough to be married if we can't even be allowed into a store. It's not enough to be parents if our kids aren't protected from bullying. And just because you can use the bathroom without any issue, that doesn't bode the same for our trans brothers and sisters. You may have your rights, but you're not everybody.
We must keep fighting. It started with us. And we must continue you on.