By Vince Shifflett
The year 2020 has certainly been one for the record books. It has been full of challenges and triumphs for the LGBTQ community and beautiful people of color. Then, of course, 2020 brought us COVID. So terribly saddened and sorry for everyone who has lost loved ones to this pandemic.
Although there have been many challenges, I am going to choose to focus more on the victories of 2020 that moved us one step closer to equality. In addition to that, I am hopeful that we will see an end to COVID now that we have a new administration capable of dealing with challenges from a compassionate, intelligent, and inclusive viewpoint.
Let’s start with a few of the positive facts from 2020 that we all can be grateful for.
According to the US Census Report for 2019, the total number of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual citizens was approximately 11.3 million, in addition to about 1.3 million Transgender citizens. The Hispanic/Latino population in 2019 was 18.5%, Black or African-American was 13.4%, and the Asian population was 5.9%. We matter, and our voice was heard loudly during the 2020 elections. LGBTQ and persons of color voter turn-out was at an all-time high with 81% of our votes going for democracy.
Despite all the rhetoric and divisiveness, we made great strides that we all should be proud of. Strides toward equality. Strides toward inclusion. Strides toward a more loving, compassionate culture. One-hundred and sixty LGBTQ candidates and candidates of color won their race in the 2020 election at the local, state, and federal levels. Let’s take a look at just a few of them that make us proud.
Mondaire Jones– One of the first black gay congressman. (Move over, Lady G, you’ve got company.)
Jared Polis– Gay Colorado Governor
Karine Jean-Pierre and Pili Tobar– Two Lesbians of color named to Biden’s White House Communications Staff.
Ryan Fecteau-First Gay House Speaker in Maine
Shaw Skelly– One of Biden’s Trans Veteran appointments will be part of the team reviewing the Department of Defense.
Sepi Shyne– Lesbian Iranian-American. First queer woman of color on the city council in West Hollywood.
Todd Gloria– Gay San Diego Mayor
Carlos Elizondo– Biden’s new White House Social Secretary
Sarah McBride– First openly Transgender State Senator
Kamala Harris– First female and first person of color elected to the office of Vice President-Elect of these United States of America. I know you can’t hear me, but I’m screaming right now. I am deeply moved by this win. This win brings me hope.
I could go on and on but just wanted to mention a few of the LGBTQ and persons of color that WE THE PEOPLE put in office. As stated earlier, we voted in a total of 160 people that represent ALL and not just certain ones.
Despite the fact that we have struggled through name-calling, mockery, killings, beatings, and the repeated attempted legislation to completely abolish the rights of anyone who isn’t white, Christian, and Heterosexual, we are continuing to move forward. We are moving forward knowing that ALL deserve equal rights under the law regardless of race, sexual orientation, or religious belief.
In summary, 2020 brought historic wins among transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and people of color. Putting 2020 in perspective, I am thrilled to see the progress. Of course, we still have a long way to go. I am confident that by pulling together, and each of us putting love and inclusion into practice, we will arrive. Let us continue to use our voice to create a better world that unlocks opportunities for ALL. Let us continue to use our vote and our voice to champion policies that give the people power and address discrimination and systemic racism.
As we move into 2021, let us all represent love and kindness even in the face of hate and division. Love truly does conquer all. Let’s look toward the light at the end of the tunnel as opposed to looking at the dark tunnel itself. Let’s look at the light that shines brightly inside each of us. Turn it on and let it shine bright as your beautiful, unique self.
Happy Holidays and Happy 2021