One of the benefits of membership to the Human Rights Campaign is a subscription to our quarterly magazine, Equality, the largest circulation lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer magazine in the country. Bringing Equality to you every quarter — and showcasing just some of the critical work that you make possible with your membership — is our pleasure and privilege, and we hope that you find yourself reflected and affirmed in these pages.
Visibility and representation are more important than ever these days. They are about our very survival. For the LGBTQ+ community, politics isn’t theory, it’s very personal. It’s about our right to exist. Our right to basic healthcare. Our right to play sports. Our right to an inclusive education. Our right to free speech. It’s about making sure we can build our families openly, live authentically and participate in our democracy fully.
It doesn’t seem like too much to ask in this country. And yet, in state after state, these rights are up for debate, contested, and in too many cases, being stripped away. In fact, it’s getting harder and harder to feel safe as an LGBTQ+ person.
Our opponents include governors like Greg Abbott, Ron DeSantis and Bill Lee; organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Moms for Liberty and the Heritage Foundation; and extremist members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the federal judiciary, state legislatures and governors’ mansions across the country. They have been actively rolling back the hard-won progress of the LGBTQ+ community — and they won’t stop unless and until we make them. Their hateful radicalism has made it so dangerous for our community that HRC had to declare a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States.
Extremists in the U.S. House of Representatives, for example, continue to attack the LGBTQ+ community in a larger effort to bring their culture war to Congress. In particular, House Republicans are attaching extreme anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion and other “poison pill” riders to critical, must-pass legislation, including the National Defense Authorization Act and 12 appropriations bills being considered this year. These riders attempt to limit access to best-practice gender-affirming care, give businesses and individuals a license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people, shutter diversity and inclusion initiatives, further attack reproductive freedom and even ban drag shows and Pride flags on government property.
As members of HRC, you already know that there is so much at stake right now, and our efforts to conquer hate, open minds and change hearts, laws and policies depend on maintaining not just a united front as a movement but also a fierce determination to advance our mission on all fronts.
On one hand, I can’t overstate how much is on the line for LGBTQ+ people at this historical moment; on the other hand, I can’t overstate our collective power to change our culture, politics and society in positive, sustainable, long-lasting ways.
Let’s remember that the same horrific things that our enemies are saying about transgender people were said about lesbian, gay and bisexual people 20 years ago and about people living with HIV & AIDS 30 years ago — and now the Respect for Marriage Act is the law of the land, and we have ended the blood donation ban and are within arm’s reach of ending the HIV & AIDS epidemic. And for every Texas, Florida and Tennessee, which have passed record numbers of anti-equality laws this year, there is a Michigan, a Minnesota and a Pennsylvania, which are advancing comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
We, together, make this progress possible. We are the unstoppable force. We are the changemakers and the history-makers, standing on the shoulders of giants. Our movement promises liberation not just for LGBTQ+ people but also for our allies and everyone else — liberation from the systems of oppression that have weighed too heavily on us as a nation and impacted our lives for centuries.
And we will fight with everything we’ve got to ensure that every LGBTQ+ person and every ally can be safe, celebrated and joyful in every aspect of their lives without exception. We will prove that our nation is greater than hate.
So, as we wrap up another Pride season and take the fight into the fall, please know: We at HRC see you; we honor you, and we are grateful for you. Thank you for your membership in the Human Rights Campaign. Your steadfast support of our critical work means the world to us.
Kelley Robinson, She/Her/Hers , President , Human Rights Campaign