A bright spot to latch onto in Gwin­nett

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

jus­tice like the late An­tonin Scalia, as he in­di­cated he would on the cam­paign trail.

Minter also said that the Supreme Court rarely over­turns an im­por­tant con­sti­tu­tional rul­ing so soon af­ter is­su­ing it, and that the con­stantly grow­ing pub­lic sup­port for mar­riage equal­ity across the coun­try would make over­turn­ing it an even smaller pos­si­bil­ity.

How­ever, Gra­ham says that doesn’t mean there aren’t other fears, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s pledge to undo Pres­i­dent Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, many of which in­volve LGBT pro­tec­tions in em­ploy­ment and hous­ing.

“There have been so many gains that the LGBT com­mu­nity has made un­der the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Gra­ham says. “So the fear that we could lose so much of that is very, very real.”

But as Don­ald Trump’s pos­si­ble de­feat of Hil­lary Clin­ton quickly turned into a cer­tainty as elec­tion night wore on, a bright spot emerged in Gwin­nett County with Sam Park’s de­feat of well-funded three-term in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Va­lerie Clark.

The openly gay Korean-Amer­i­can be­came the first openly gay man elected to the Ge­or­gia Leg­is­la­ture, and the state’s LGBT com­mu­nity quickly latched onto the news, with Ge­or­gia Equal­ity’s email and the Ge­or­gia Voice’s en­su­ing story an­nounc­ing the win sky­rock­et­ing across in­boxes and so­cial me­dia.

“I think clearly folks were look­ing for some good news as they were see­ing some of their worst night­mares play­ing out on their TV screens,” Gra­ham says.

Gra­ham adds that he’s been in­un­dated with peo­ple ask­ing how they can get in­volved and be a part of what hap­pens for the state’s LGBT com­mu­nity in the com­ing year.

“I do think that folks are work­ing through their grief, their anger and their fear and hav­ing a greater sense that we need to be ac­tive and we need to be able to stand up for our­selves,” he says.

And with Park’s win com­ing in the same year as the elec­tion of Park Can­non, a queer African-Amer­i­can woman, to the Ge­or­gia Leg­is­la­ture, he says a deep bench of young lead­ers is form­ing to join les­bian state Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Karla Dren­ner and Keisha Waites as well as other LGBT lead­ers through­out the state.

“[Sam Park and Park Can­non] truly rep­re­sent what I feel is the new Ge­or­gia, that is very, very di­verse,” he says.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the same fears and anx­i­eties of many, the LGBT com­mu­nity’s next young leader, 31-year-old Sam Park, sees an open­ing for in­ter­sec­tion­al­ity.

“I think an op­por­tu­nity ex­ists mov­ing for­ward for some of our com­mu­ni­ties, whether it’s the LGBT com­mu­nity or an­other com­mu­nity that feels the same way and has that anx­i­ety of what may hap­pen next, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to work to­gether to build coali­tions to en­sure our mu­tual ob­jec­tives of what we care about. That de­sire for all of us to be treated with equal dig­nity and pro­tec­tions un­der the law … that is some­thing that gives me hope.”

November 25, 2016

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s win on Nov. 8 cre­ated fear and anx­i­ety through­out Ge­or­gia’s LGBT com­mu­nity but also led many to join ef­forts to com­bat the pos­si­ble fall­out. (iS­tock photo)

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