US elections: A last plea
NEW YORK, USA - This is my last plea for anyone who is still undecided about this election. In case you didn't know, I'm gay. One of the candidates is vehemently anti-LGBT rights and one of the candidates is pro-LGBT rights. When you vote for the candidate who is anti-LGBT, regardless of your reasons for voting for him, you are essentially voting against me and my civil rights.
1) You are voting against my ability to get married, adopt children, and have the same type of family you have. [Fact: Romney supports that same-sex marriage should be banned on both federal and state levels. He signed a pledge stating that he would "support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman" and that he will "defend the Federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court." He has also stated that he is against same-sex couples adopting children.]
2) You are voting against my ability to be protected from workplace discrimination. [Fact: If I lived in 29 of our 50 states, I could be fired from my job, simply for being who I am...And legally, I would not be protected. In fact, there are over 1,000 federal, state, and local rights and benefits that LGBT people do not have that heterosexual and cisgender people do have. President Obama has passed federal legislation protecting against LGBT discrimination in the workplace, while also passing legislation for same-sex couples to have the same benefits and hospital visitation rights as their heterosexual counterparts. Romney has stated that he would be against federal legislation protecting against discrimination because it would "unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges."]
3) Finally, you are voting against my ability to feel safe in my own country. President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Federal Hate Crimes Act, which protects hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity on a federal level. This means that if I were to ever be the victim of a hate crime based on my sexual orientation, my assailants would be charged with a hate crime. However, Paul Ryan voted against this act, and while governor of MA, Mitt Romney voted against funding for hate crimes protection. Their actions state that they simply don't care about my need to feel safe in this country.
In case you didn't know (or realize), the president appoints the new seats on the US Supreme Court. With 4 of the current supreme court justices over the age of 70 (and some with known health issues), it is possible that this president will have the opportunity to appoint new judges. With Romney's stances on abortion, same-sex marriage, hate crimes, and other civil rights issues, there is a possibility for him to appoint justices that may overturn or uphold many laws that directly affect women, people of color, LGBT people, and people of other marginalized statuses. Sure, Romney/Ryan would not have the power, alone, to overturn Roe v. Wade. But the Supreme Court would!
Many people say that this election is about jobs or the economy. For me, this election is about not feeling like a second-class citizen in my own country. This election is about feeling safe and holding my boyfriend's hand, regardless of what city or state we are in. (It's also about a woman having a right to her own body and about immigrants having access to education and their American dreams, but that's a whole other facebook status/ plea!!)
So, if you feel comfortable voting against me and my civil rights, you absolutely have the right to do so. Just know that your vote isn't just about your perception of your job security or taxes, it's also about my ability to have the same life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that you have.
Kevin - Rappler.com
This was shared on Kevin Nadal's Facebook page and we are republishing it here. Kevin Nadal is a professor, psychologist, performer, activist, and author, who received his doctorate in counseling psychology from Columbia University in New York City. He is one of the leading researchers in understanding the impacts of microaggressions , or subtle forms of discrimination, on the mental and physical health of people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and other marginalized groups. He has published over 50 works on multicultural issues in the fields of psychology and education.