The fragility of our acceptance in society, a constant battle for our rights.

The right to same-sex marriage has only been around since the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. The case challenged the constitutionality of bans on same-sex marriage and the refusal to recognize legal same-sex marriages in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Resulting in a 5–4 decision — with one dissenting opinion authored by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, joined by Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas — ultimately, it was decided that the constitution should protect same-sex marriages the way it protects opposite-sex marriages. 

After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and with a conservative nomination inevitable to come from the white house, two of the Justices who voted against these protections — Thomas and Alito — are speaking out on the topic again. 

In a four-page statement denouncing the 2015 ruling in which they claim it has disparaged religious freedoms, Justice Thomas perpetuates the ridiculous notion that “Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society.”

As though working to progress society in such a way that LGBTQ+ individuals have the same freedoms as cis-gender and straight individuals somehow works to stigmatize those with conservative religious values. As though creating a society that is safe and inclusive for those that have been systematically disenfranchised and othered interferes with one’s ability to practice their religion as they understand it. 

Whether or not the right to same-sex marriage gets reversed or is upheld is irrelevant. The fact that it is even up for debate is damaging to the LGBTQ+ community and everyone that is a part of it. It won’t end here, it isn’t just about this fight. It is about our wellbeing. Our safety. Our ability to love. And our ability to express our true selves. All of these are undermined when our place in society is constantly up for debate. 

We live in a heteronormative society in which straight and cis-gender are the default. And before “coming out” you have to prepare yourself for the consequences. Will your family accept you? Will friends stop talking to you? Will people treat you differently now that they know? And if someone finds out, will you be at risk of harm? 

And before we can even come out to others we must first come out to ourselves. And that can be the hardest part of it. I’m queer, and it took me a long time to be able to identify as such. I was attracted to people across the gender spectrum but was only conscious of that attraction being genuine and romantic towards men. 

Sapphic love is often belittled by society, it is invalidated and not perceived as a true love. Girls fooling around are just that, fooling around. As such, I didn’t take my attraction towards women seriously. The heteronormative and homophobic ideals embedded in our society are invasive, and they are damaging to those who do not fit the mold. 

It categorizes us as the other, even within our own minds. And the dismantling of those systems of oppression from within is difficult. Finding the courage to face the truth of my emotions and push aside the narrative that surrounds bisexuality in society took time. 

Love is love, and I don’t have to “pick a side.” I do not have to prove the validity of my sexuality by telling you how many girls I’ve kissed or how many boys I’ve dated. There is no ratio that validates my identity.   

With the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court there is now a solid conservative majority. Despite her lack of experience, she has been sworn in for a lifetime appointment and will hear a major case concerning LGBTQ+ rights the day after the election. She has spoken out against the LGBTQ+ community on multiple occasions, including during her confirmation hearings. Making it clear that she does not respect LGBTQ+ individuals and cannot be trusted to uphold our rights as a Justice, reminding us of the fragility of our acceptance in society. 

We see the ways that she adheres to and upholds patriarchal, heteronormative and homophobic ideals. Endangering those that break these molds. Referring to transgender women as “physiological males,” stating that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and speaking out against the right to choose, undermining the right to bodily autonomy. 

These people finding their way into power is not new or surprising. It is expected. Those that uphold the systems of power as they exist will rise and they will do all that they can to tear away the rights of those who challenge them. 

But we do not need that kind of power. It has never been where we find our strength. We find our strength in each other, in the love that we have. The Stonewall Rebellion lives on in our community, and it brings power to our actions. 

Pride began as a riot, and we will never let those in power forget that.

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