November 6th is behind us. I am sure we are all grateful that we no longer have to endure the political commercials, the Facebook memes, and the less-than-researched opinions from Great Uncle Bob. But, many of the discussions and statuses from these past few weeks, specifically, were pleas to our families and friends: this is who we are; this is why this is important. It is incredibly important to speak our minds, no matter the “side” we take.
Personally, I wrote an open letter to my stepfather on the night before the election. I wanted him to understand three main concerns.
First, my partner and I would be greatly affected, in many ways, by the outcome of the election. Under the current administration, we made leaps and bounds in equality for all. This is not simply about LGBT equality; the Obama administration made strides in LGBT equality, but also fought for race, for gender, and for class. They stopped the downward spiral that was our economic trend and worked to include all United States citizens in the uphill climb. But, on the minority front, we still have work to do. LGB military partners are out, but not supported. Transgender service members still cannot serve openly, and have zero support for families — even within our own community. Under a Romney administration, progress would stop. I do not need to elaborate; we all know what this looks like. We would move backward in our fight for equality.
Second, although this is my most motivating issue, I am not a “one-issue voter.” Yes, I am a gay military partner. I am also an MA student at San Diego State University. I love the south. I am allergic to mold and coconut. I am a daughter and a sister. I want children within the next few years. I am Christian. I support the right to bear arms. I have worked for a Fortune 500 company for twelve years. I do not have health insurance. I am a teacher. I have concern for our current economic standing.
Third, with an understanding all of the issues at hand, I am deeply hurt by my stepfather’s decision to vote for a Romney administration. He insists that only Mitt Romney can remedy the economy because of his breadth of experience. He believes that the things that will contribute the most to my long-term welfare are a “robust economy and a stable fiscal environment,” and he insists that he is making these decisions so that I will have a better life.
As an adult, I take issue with someone making decisions for my well being when, to put it bluntly: you’re doing it wrong. As stated before, a Romney administration would have set the LGBT progress back years; at the very least, it would bring progress to a standstill. I would expect someone who loves me and cares about my well being to recognize that without basic civil rights for all, no economic progression for all can begin. I can make these decisions for myself because I am part of a minority group. With a Romney administration, I am not able to grow with the majority of United States citizens.
But what happens when a member of the LGBT military community has different priorities? It is easy for me to say that I am voting for Obama: in addition to being gay, I am pro-choice; I believe that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare; I do not believe in the death penalty; I believe in a moderate amount in government intervention to protect minorities and those who cannot protect themselves; I believe that Obama can create job and economic growth. But many are gay and do not believe in these very things. Beyond these beliefs, equality for all is my number one priority. But in our AMPA community, we have those who believe in small government, in the death penalty, who are pro-life, and that Obama has ruined the economy.
Regardless of the truth and arguments in any of these large issues, they are our personal beliefs. We have a right to our opinions on the LGBT issue because we can prioritize our own minority status. We many not all agree with each other, but we are in this one group because we have one thing in common: we are all military partners. We love and serve our country beside our service members, even if we love and serve our country with different priorities.