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As SCOTUS Sanctions Bigotry, Pride Means Fighting Back

The month of Pride should be a time of celebrating love, sharing our beautiful differences and embracing our shared humanity. Yet today the Supreme Court ​issued a ruling that targets and dehumanizes LGBTQ people, preventing us from living our lives free from discrimination and hatred. We’ve lost the right to buy wedding cakes, soon we’ll lose our right to healthcare, and untold horrors will come for us – and millions more around the world – if this continues. I’m not going to be forced into the shadows, so I am PROUD to share that I’m pansexual and wouldn’t want to be any other way.

Growing up Catholic, I was taught that homosexuality was a grave sin, a disgusting transgression, an unnatural and harmful phenomenon. And I really believed this. As a young teenager, as I found myself developing a crush on a girl in my geometry class, I started internalizing this homophobia. I truly, fiercely hated myself for feeling the way I did, never told anyone the truth, and constantly lied to myself, hoping I could “pray the gay away.” Changing this self-hatred and pain took years of questioning and challenging myself, breaking from that oppressive religion entirely, and opening my eyes to the reality: human beings are diverse and beautiful in so many ways, and my life would fall so short if I didn’t wake up and appreciate the captivating world before me.

As I’ve grown and transformed, I have loved people of all genders, and ​I’ve been so grateful to be surrounded by a small community of people who love and support me for who I am, and who respect all people, regardless of differences. But I’ve come to see that homophobia and anti-LGBTQ bigotry are lurking around every corner – from those who openly slander and shame us, to those who are silent when we’re denied our humanity.

​In the Handmaids Tale, ​as the show sheds light on the process of Christian fascism consolidating power, a character named Emily tells another professor, “They can’t scare us back into the closet.”​ But they did. And if we don’t stop the fascists targeting us​, they can do that here. These vile ​ideas aren’t just some old bigots’ opinions: they’re enforced by the most powerful military/police state on the planet. We know that police all over the country target people of color and LGBTQ people, and we remember Roxana Hernandez, a Honduran trans woman who recently died in ICE custody at the border. Pride itself originated as a righteous retaliation against police brutality. And now, the Trump/Pence regime is using the court to ramp up state-sanctioned bigotry across the country, while unleashing storm troopers on the ground to terrorize us. If they continue on this trajectory, dehumanizing us and stripping away our rights and protections, ​the horrors that could come down on us are almost unimaginable.

​When we won the right to marry those we love, lots of us thought things would keep getting better. ​But they’re becoming so much worse, so much more dangerous than most currently realize. The recent Supreme Court ruling legalizes bigotry under the guise of “freedom of religion”, which has come to mean freedom to discriminate. At the same time, the Trump/Pence regime has a plan to revoke an Obama-era rule that prevented doctors from refusing healthcare to transgender people. When asked about gay people, Trump “joked” that Pence – who supports torturous “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ children – wants to hang them all. Meanwhile, they’re tearing hundreds of children from the arms of their parents at the border, and decimating all of Yemen – leaving a million with cholera and 18 million starving. How much worse can it get? I don’t want to find out.

This is why I’m part of a movement that doesn’t rely on the people in power to save us; they won’t. But there are so many of us on the right side of history – people we sit next to on the train, the guys at our bodegas, the old woman in the park, the kids playing on the basketball court – who share our outrage and our pain, who don’t want to see what happens next. I’m calling on everyone who feels moved to act to join the organization Refuse Fascism as we work to bring millions of us together in the streets to end this nightmare and drive out Trump, Pence, and all of the other anti-LGBTQ, pro-war, extremely racist, misogynistic, fascist members of their regime. Building this movement is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but in the face of genocide, nuclear war, and the devastation of our amazing planet, nothing could be more meaningful.

Remember that Pride has always been about resistance! Let’s make this one count.

Eva Sahana is a volunteer on the New York City steering committee of RefuseFascism.org. She is dedicated to driving out the Trump/Pence regime through mass, nonviolent resistance in the streets. Contact her at evasahana7@gmail.com