Last week I traveled to Massachusetts to work with the country’s first ever statewide ballot campaign to uphold protections for the transgender community. The campaign is running an impressive operation, from building a massive volunteer-driven voter contact program to putting up some of the best television ads making the case for dignity and respect under the law. What I saw is a team of ambitious and inspired advocates who are using previous lessons learned to make sure we do everything we can to win – and win big – this November.
It was just three years ago today that I was traveling to Houston, Texas to pitch in on the early vote push with the HERO campaign: A city-wide vote that didn’t go our way because the opponents trotted out their usual disrespectful myths and lies about our friends and family members. We failed to take their lies and deceit head on and refute their claims.
The campaign in Massachusetts feels different, similarly to how the campaign in Anchorage felt different. Since Houston, we worked tirelessly to learn how to best have conversations about who we are and why protections are critical to our communities. We learned who needs to have conversations with us the most – and what we need to do to retain their support. Additionally, leaders from within the transgender community have stepped up – and campaign leadership has stepped aside, fundamentally shifting how volunteers and voters see themselves in our work.
We also know our opponents are relentless – they will not stop. We won’t quit either. We know, just like they did with marriage, their plan is to use ballot measures like the ones in Anchorage, Houston, and Massachusetts, to divide our country based on misunderstandings of who we are. We will not allow our dignity to be put on the line without a fight. It takes every single one of us – doing this work together no matter where the fight is in the country – to hold the line against these attacks. And we can’t do the work alone. We have to keep building up the leadership of our supporters and making the case to voters.
It is critical we all understand how to do this work because the opposition will not rest. And neither will we.