As the election results have come in, many of us woke up this morning wondering what the voters’ decisions will mean for LGBTQ+ Americans.
The hateful rhetoric used throughout this election cycle is enough to cause concern. We hear you, and we feel you. But let us remember:
The last eight years have been a time of momentous progress for issues dear to our community and our allies. While many challenges remained unresolved under the departing administration, we recognize and thank all who contributed to marriage equality, inclusive hate crime legislation, equal military service opportunities, non-discrimination in immigration and in federal employment and advances in access to medical care. We have taken so many steps forward and nobody will take that away from us; it is something to be incredibly proud of.
We plan to continue defending and improving upon that record of accomplishment in the same spirit that the Matthew Shepard Foundation has always held as its core values: with understanding, compassion and acceptance. We will persevere the way we always have.
The political party change in the White House does not have to mean those accomplishments are erased. Indeed, we and countless other members of our community will do our utmost to ensure they endure.
Whether it be on behalf of legal recognition of our families, or the right to be our authentic selves at work and in our communities, or to send our kids to safe schools, the Foundation will work with whomever the American people choose as our leaders regardless of political party to ensure our community does not go backward.
Human rights are not a partisan issue and we will eagerly look for and spotlight anyone who will join us in that view over the coming term. Please remember that The Matthew Shepard Foundation was needed yesterday just as much as it is needed today. We are standing, yet again, on the precipice and we have two choices: Take that leap of faith and continue standing up to the face of adversity as we have always done, or become as Judy Shepard calls it, SIC: silent, indifferent, and complacent for the next four years.
Join us in leaping. The net will present itself as it always has. We only lose if we quit fighting.
Congratulations to Hillary Clinton on a very thoughtful, hard-fought campaign.