There is progress and also change. Philadelphia’s and Pennsylvania’s LGBT community finds itself in that position now in so many respects. Organizations are going through reorganization and rebranding, some are changing or adding to their mission, and many are figuring out how to go forward. Several members of the LGBT community are considering entering the contest for City Council and other political offices; one has already publicly announced. And we lost several leaders of our community in the last couple of weeks: Michael Hinson, Susan Silverman and Tony Silvestre.
Some of these changes, especially those involving who will lead organizations and set the tone for the community, will cause strife and might not be comfortable. But we’ve done this before, and rest assured that it is necessary. More times than not, these shifts in the community are to root out disruptions to change and progress. At a time when we are fighting a very serious global and local backlash, it is no time for fighting among ourselves. It is a time for unity.
The backlash must be taken with the gravity required to combat it. Those perpetuating the backlash are opposed to our gains, against our marriages and intimacy, against our being able to congregate as organized student groups, and opposed to our right to getting medical help and even PreP. They are even opposed to LGBT people being elected in Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas and numerous other states, including Pennsylvania.
If you are not noticing the threat to our community, here’s just one story: Yeshiva University in New York wanted to reject an LGBTQ student group. They’ll be taking the case up the courts all the way to the Supreme Court. The same court with Clarence Thomas, who wants to end same-sex marriages.
This is a time to be unified to fight those who are opposed to our very way of life. Concentrate on what we believe in common and leave all else behind. We have fights directly in front of us. It is easier to fight when you know what you’re up against.
There is an election in less than 60 days. Here in Pennsylvania, we have a man running for Governor who if elected would begin the process of ending your marriage. He has stated publicly that your marriage should be illegal. And if elected, with a Republican State House and Senate (which are unlikely to flip), you can count the days until he does just that: nullify your love. His name is Doug Mastriano, and he’s the Republican nominee for Governor. Along with ending same-sex marriage, he would also end abortion, even if a women is a victim of rape or incest.
Can you imagine what Doug Mastriano would do to LGBT health clinics? He would not stop at defunding them. He would seek to have them shut down entirely. And before you state that a man like that could not possibly be elected, I have only two words for you, Donald Trump. Actually, there’s two more words: Ron DeSantis. Do you want Pennsylvania to become worse than Florida for LGBT rights? Because that is what would happen with Mastriano.
The man who will fight for your rights is a man who has been an LGBT ally since the day he entered public life. He hasn’t had to evolve on the issue, he’s had it at the core of his being from the very start. He’s a man who not only supports our rights but puts them center stage in his campaign. His name is Josh Shapiro, and he’s the Democratic nominee for Governor.There are less than eight weeks to go until the election. Let’s unite and do this!