PoliticsRaceSex & Gender

stacey abrams stands with lgbtq+ community

November 5, 2018

The breakout star of Atlanta Pride this year was none other than gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, the state’s Democratic nominee. Beaming from ear to ear from under her tiny well-kempt locs, Abrams celebrated the LGBTQ+ community with pride and unabashed support. An advocate for the voiceless in Georgia, the potential future governor has been an outspoken voice for the queer and questioning community. Stacey Abrams was the first major-party nominee for governor to appear in the parade. Her second year attending in her respective political capacity.

Appearances are one thing. It’s where Abrams stands on the issues that really count.

Let’s go back to 2006, the year Abrams ran her first state house race where she openly embraced the national push for same-sex marriage legalization. By 2015, Abrams was fighting against religious exemptions bills as they appeared in the state Legislature that year. As governor, Abrams will resist all legislation that attempts to prioritize religious freedoms of human rights, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Additionally, she will reform the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity into the Georgia Commission on Human Rights, which will set clear pathways for harassment complaints and be a referral point for Georgia workers.

“It’s about protecting communities, the LGBTQ community, from being able to be fired, or denied access to housing, denied access to services,” Abrams told the crowd at an Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce event in January. “It’s about fighting back not only locally but nationally and letting the state of Georgia be a voice not of discrimination but of defense. It’s about making sure that discrimination of any kind, that from the beginning, the governor is the face of what will not happen in the state of Georgia, and that’s why I’m running.”

More broadly, the Abrams agenda promises positive change for separate, but intersecting, issues. As governor, Stacey will fight for the end of the cash bail system. Trans folks, specifically women of color, in Atlanta are disproportionately targeted and criminalized by police officers compared to their cis counterparts. Thirty-eight percent of trans women of color who reported to have called the police have ended up being arrested instead. Additional, a startling 80 percent of TWoC have been approached by ADP with almost half of them reporting to have been assumed to be a sex worker. Worst of all, nearly 10 percent of these respondents allege to be victims of sexual assault at the hands of the ADP. Eliminating cash bail is a crucial step towards ending the for-profit criminalization and abuse of the most vulnerable populations.

When it comes to health care, Abrams respects the urgency to expand Medicaid statewide, giving access to affordable, accessible care to a wider range of Georgians. By leveraging state and federal programs to incentivize more doctors and medical personnel to work in underserved areas. With additional funds and a thriving healthcare system, access to mental and behavioral health care services will grow significantly. These additional resources have the power to shape underserved communities in profound and revolutionary ways. I’m of the opinion that everyone could use some form of mental health care, particularly those communities most vulnerable to trauma and violence, like the LGBTQ+.

So, look. Democracy is fucked. And it’s not responsible to pretend that the election of one person is the key to any community’s total liberation. What I do know is that elections have consequences. And now more than ever who is in charge is a life or death issue for so many of us. It’s the difference between qualifying for tax credits to pay for health insurance or quite literally suffering without. It will determine whether or not TWoC will be imprisoned for being unable to meet bail after discriminatory police encounters. Or whether or not Georgia businesses will be allowed to discriminate against someone for who they love or how they express themselves. These are incremental but important issues for all of us to fight for. And we need to fight and win wherever we can.

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