Continuing the push for equality in 2023

Let’s start off with the bad news: there will never be a point where the LGBTQ community doesn’t have to fight for itself. The right to be free from physical harm, the right to marry who they wish, the right to have a family, and the right to proper healthcare and housing are all things that have been and will continue to be at the forefront for those working towards equality. When one issue gets better, another issue will inevitably arise. Then when that issue gets better, the old issue will problematically re-emerge. It’s an exhausting, never ending cycle. But it’s a cycle that we just need to accept. Equality has no finish line, no ending bell.

But how are we expected to take part in a boxing match that does not end? At some point, we all get tired of dodging and we all get tired of throwing punches. It’s simply not possible to be on our toes at all times. At some point, we all need to change our strategy or to sit a couple rounds out. Even those who appear indefatigable have their tactics to recharge and refresh.

Sometimes that means finding new ways to contribute to the fight for equality, whether that be a new job, a new organization to support, or a new way to get people engaged. Sometimes that means taking a complete step back from the fight and finding a completely new avenue for one’s energy. Sometimes it means, simply, a few days or weeks off.

Regardless of what format your rest or reinvention takes, you need to take it. Fighting for equality depends on the energy and spirit of those in the ring. You can’t be an effective leader or advocate without knowing that you are fully invested in your goals and vision. You can’t inspire others without being inspired yourself.

It’s not just leaders who need to continually reevaluate how they’re doing. Those who have crucial support roles — in organizations, businesses, and in politics — also need to take stock of how well they are doing their jobs and how well they are supporting those around them. Everyone is important, from the President of the United States to the voter who stood in line for hours to elect them. We all need to look out for each other.

Normally, when working as a team, other members recognize when someone isn’t at peak performance and they all make adjustments to help compensate. That applies to activism as well. Activists with renewed energy need to make the pushes that those in need of a recharge can’t. Having each other’s backs is how progress is made. Nobody ever single handedly won us anything.

So, as we enter yet another year that will impact our civil rights, don’t forget to take stock of where you are and take ample steps to make sure you either are, or will become again, ready to do what you can to support the community. We need people in our corner like never before, but they can’t be phoning it in. They must be engaged and ready to roll up their sleeves. Equality is always moving, and we must move forward along with it.

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