A prayer for a extra simply, fuller future for LGBTQ folks in 2021
(RNS) – We have seen a seemingly endless stream of online conversation about the dark through 2020. It is true that looking back on this year we will remember too many events and conversations full of sadness, fear and anger.
But I also ask all of us to reflect on the bright spots of the year and appreciate them.
A high grade for many Americans came in June when the US Supreme Court confirmed that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination in the workplace. It was a milestone that gives me hope – and also determination for the work that remains to be done.
The reality is that in most states, including here in Michigan, despite advances in employment by the Supreme Court, LGBTQ people continue to be vulnerable to discrimination in vital areas of life such as housing and healthcare, as well as in the way they are in Spaces such as restaurants and businesses are treated publicly.
Discrimination against LGBTQ remains a pressing problem. As a pastor for the Metropolitan Community Church in Detroit, I hear stories from parishioners about how they have been mistreated because of their LGBTQ identity. They talk about how the core values of their beliefs, including love for those around you like yourself, compel them to support LGBTQ protection.
In November, Americans came together in record numbers to vote for a president and a vice president who are strictly committed to the dignity and respect of all LGBTQ people. When Joe Biden is in the know he’ll become the loudest champion LGBTQ people have ever seen at the White House. The elected president has called for comprehensive protection against non-LGBTQ discrimination to be adopted at the federal level.
But there is still a lot left in the air. The president-elect’s program depends heavily on the vote in Georgia, which will determine two important seats in the US Senate and determine partisan control over the Senate as a whole. This special election on January 5th is the final piece of the puzzle for what 2021 will mean for so many issues, but especially for LGBTQ rights.
Regardless of the Senate composition, I encourage President-elect Biden to take decisive executive action early on, including reversing many of the anti-LGBTQ rollbacks that the Trump administration has pursued over the past four years.
While the new government gives me hope, LGBTQ rights are not a partisan issue or a particular belief tradition. This is about dignity and respect for everyone. 72% of Americans say they support LGBTQ protection, including 61% Republicans, 71% of Independents, and 81% of Democrats.
After one of the most controversial political seasons we’ve seen, this is an issue that could reverse the message of last year: the only ones worth saving were the ones we agree with. I urge all lawmakers, regardless of party or religious belief, to pass laws that protect all of their voters.
This year has been one of such deep pain, and our challenges have been compounded by confusion about where to go. The road to justice for LGBTQ people is actually not confusing. We know the answer: no matter where you live, no matter who you are or who you love, protecting all people is the first step in moving into the future together.
We must never lose sight of a future where LGBTQ people are locked in – and where all of our people can thrive.
(Rev. Roland Stringfellow is a senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Detroit. The views expressed in this comment do not necessarily reflect those of the Religion News Service.)
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