#DrewsViews: Stay Engaged!

by Drew Adams

Staying up to date on what’s going on in the United States political area and government nowadays is heartbreaking, gut wrenching, and mind boggling. Day after day we see posts and articles about the next new homophobic transphobic, racist, sexist, and ignorant policies released by the Trump administration and other far-right Republicans in power. Often, it seems that the country is beyond hope, and more often than not, we feel hopeless watching it.

I had the chance to meet with my congressional representative John Rutherford in Washington, and what we talked about brought a new wave of hope to my mindset on this country.

Congressman Rutherford is a Republican. The affiliation automatically raises red flags for me and many other LGBTQ+ people. He said in an interview, however, that he doesn’t think anyone should be discriminated against for who they are or who they love, in reference to gender and sexuality. I was curious to see which would win him over more in office: his party or his past statements. So I asked him.

I asked him what he would do if a bill adding gender identity and sexuality as protected classes came to a vote, how would he vote. He said very simply that he would be happy to support that sort of legislation (as long as he read it first). All in all, it gives me hope that someone in the Republican Party supports queer and trans folks. It gives me hope that we can change people’s minds about us and rally more support behind us.

One Congressman might not make all of the bigotry of this administration disappear, but many Congresspeople can. The most important thing for creating the change we want to see is voting. Each and every person who is over 18 or will be 18 by voting day needs to register to vote and then needs to actually vote. Together, we can vote out all of the bigotry and vote in people who will help us, people who will protect us, and people who will save our country.

If Trump is allowed to add a far-right judge to the Supreme Court, we can say goodbye to a lot the rights we worked hard to win. Marriage equality and reproductive rights are the most at risk. Future progress, like the fight for transgender bathroom rights, the fight for anti-discrimination policies, and the fight for gay adoption rights, could be significantly stunted. Now more than ever we need to mobilize, fight back, and most importantly, vote.

Vote. Vote. Please vote. Vote all the time. Vote every time. Vote.

About the Author:

Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. He serves as his high school GSA’s president and raises money for Northeast Florida’s LGBTQ youth outreach, JASMYN, to which he also donates food, toiletries and school supplies. Nationally, Drew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Drew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff. Additionally, Drew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Drew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.