Dear Out in the Open community,
We know that everyone is talking about voting right now. Because we’re rural queer & trans people invested heavily in our collective liberation, here’s how we’re thinking about voting in U.S. elections these days. (If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we love a metaphor!) It’s like weeding in our gardens and fields. We need to be able to see the hornworms through the hogweed. And in order to do that we’ve got to clear the way.
We know that all those harmful hornworms are going to continue creating some devastation, defoliation, and munching away on our sweet sweet tomatoes all along the way— regardless of if we keep up with our weeding or not! And we can’t even see them if all the hogweed and lamb’s quarters are up to our eyebrows. Let’s pull these weeds out at their roots and then get to work disposing of all those sneaky hornworms (or potato beetles, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, corn earworms, etc. the pests are many!) once we can find them.
Is our weeding going to fix centuries of soil destruction and nutrient depletion? No. Is it going to fix decades of dismantling our collective ability to save seeds and replant as a result of GMO-laced seed? Certainly not. And also, voting is a thing we can do, right now, to make the conditions of growing easier. If we’re not dealing with weed pressure, the whole field is healthier.
We are up against it right now, y’all. Impending/present authoritarianism and fascism. Threats of no longer sending federal funds to Seattle, Portland, and NYC. People detained in ICE custody literally losing their bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. The looming end of reproductive rights for people with uteruses. On-going and rampant direct violence against Black people throughout the country. The likely rollback of many protections & rights won over the last several decades, fueled by mass movements and cemented legally by the Supreme Court. The on-going loss of hundreds of thousands more of our friends, family members, loved ones, neighbors, and our own lives to COVID-19. It is a lot.
So, join us in voting this November. In many communities across the country, including Vermont, mail-in and early voting has already started. If you are voting in Vermont, the date to mail ballots back has passed. Choose another method for returning your ballot! Think of November 3rd as your last opportunity to vote in this election, not your first. Check your registration and if you live in Vermont (like us!), the status of your ballot here. If you want to organize around defending democracy, there is a large list of resources compiled by Training for Change here. Our rural LGBTQ voices and our values matter.
And of course, continue joining us in the many ways of building rural LGBTQ community, visibility, knowledge, and power. Regardless of what happens this month or in a few months, we’ll be here with you working hard to move all of us closer to collective liberation for all people.
HB & Out in the Open