It's Not Over

Equality flags fly in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The Supreme Court is set to hear his
Equality flags fly in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The Supreme Court is set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. The justices are meeting Tuesday to offer the first public indication of where they stand in the dispute over whether states can continue defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, or whether the Constitution gives gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

When the Obergfell decision was announced, I spoke with a conservative relative on the phone about something unrelated to marriage.

"You must be very happy," he said glumly, "you guys got everything you wanted."

"No," I replied, "there's a lot left to do."

Because it's not over. Not by a long shot. Not when conservatives are already looking for ways to chip away at marriage equality the way they whittled down reproductive rights to nothing in many states.

Not while it's legal in 28 states to get married on Saturday and fired on Monday because you got married. Not while denying housing, jobs, medical care and services to LGBT people is legal in 28 states, and doing the same thing to transgender people is legal in 32. Not when federal protections for LGBT people have languished for over 20 years, and don't have a prayer until at least 2023.

It isn't over yet.

Not when people are fighting to make bullying of LGBT kids legal as long as it is bullying with sincerely held religious beliefs. Not when 40% of all homeless children are LGBT, because discarding them like trash is ok because they're queer. Not when children with queer mothers are 50% more likely to live in poverty than children with straight parents.

It isn't over yet.

Not when conservatives in statehouses are nullifying all local protections for LGBT people, or passing license to discriminate bills aimed squarely at queer folk. Not when there were almost a dozen bills in legislatures this year designed to drive transgender people out of entire states by giving them a choice: arrest and extreme violence every time they use a public bathroom.

It isn't over yet.

Not when transgender people are legally barred from getting correct government identification unless they undergo expensive and often unwanted surgical procedures, and even then that often isn't enough to obtain ID. Not when transgender people cannot obtain medically necessary health care because other people don't feel like allowing it based solely on their religious beliefs. Not when religious hospitals can refuse to employ or treat LGBT people. Not when religious conservatives are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that the practice of "reparative therapy" on children endures, and remains legal in 48 states.

It isn't over yet.

Not when transgender people are still vilified and murdered in record numbers this year. Not when conservative commentators are calling for transgender people to be discriminated against in every aspect of life. Not when the most popular conservative blogger online calls all transgender people "delusional," "sick", "freaks" who should be locked up in mental institutions and gets over 238,000 shares on Facebook for it. Not when our own government still labels transgender people as sexual deviants and undesirables.

It isn't over yet.

Not when transgender people are twice as likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to live in desperate poverty despite being twice as likely as the general population to hold advanced post-graduate degrees. Not when queer women of all types suffer high levels of economic discrimination, along with their children. Not when transgender immigrants detained by ICE made up only one of every 500 detainees, they accounted for one of every five confirmed cases of sexual assault.

It's not even close to over yet.

But we will win.

We won the right to marry whom we love, and we will win the right to be honest about our families and our lives at work without fear of retribution or punishment. We will win the right to live without fear of eviction.

We will win the right to no longer suffer the humiliation of being told "we don't serve your kind here." We will win the right to go to school, and to have legal recourse against both our tormentors, and those who allow it. We will end the torture and barbarism of reparative therapy, by pressing home the message that you can't fix what isn't broken.

It will be over when no child is thrown into the streets for being LGBT. It will be over when no one is afraid to come out. It will be over when no Christian is belittled for loving and accepting their LGBT brothers and sisters. It will be over when no one is embarrassed of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

It falls upon us to end all of this.

So revel in this long and hard fought victory for marriage equality this week. Then roll up your sleeves and continue the fight next. Marriage equality is only one piece. To take the steps necessary to seeing the day when we can say we have won we must take this celebration to rest, recharge, and commit ourselves to carrying to further progress.

Because it's not over.

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