A bright spot to latch onto in Gwinnett
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)