Friday, November 9, 2012

In My Own Words: The 2012 Presidential Election

"In My Own Words" is a regular feature of the Gay Central Valley blog where local community members write about their personal experiences on a wide variety of issues...

Written By: Yesenia Valdez (a.k.a. GAYsenia)

I am proudly OUT for Obama, and it makes me feel so gay (happy) that he is OUT for the LGBT community. This election really played with my emotions, including my health. I suffered all of the following symptoms: loss of appetite, loss of sleep, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing, crying spells, frustration, anger,  and most of all—Romneyphobia; not to be confused with Romnesia.  I successfully counteracted all of that with an elevated enthusiasm for getting the word out about important issues on the ballot. Gratefully, I can breathe and sleep a lot better knowing that President Obama was reelected and that we still have hope for our nation.

Hope. That was what I had when I voted for Obama back in ’08 and what I was desperately pleading with the universe to grant me at the end of this nerve wracking election. Politics can get ugly fast, which is why I felt a great need to get involved; so I got an internship with the Fresno County Democratic Party. After joining the group I soon learned the importance of all the propositions and quickly started blasting a lot of information on Facebook. That wasn’t enough so I wore numerous buttons and decorated my car with a rainbow of bumper stickers. Lawn signs were put up and flyers and stickers were given out. Canvassing and voter registration were at the top of the list. Hope was alive and in full force. It worked! It is a HUGE relief that Romney was not able to buy the election. Good conquered evil. LGBT rights were handed out as early Christmas gifts.  We made history once again! “In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. Senate. In Rhode Island, openly gay congressman David Cicilline was reelected.  In New York, Sean Patrick Maloney became that state's first openly gay person elected to Congress. In Maine, Washington and Maryland, for the first time in the history of the United States the voters—not judges or a legislature—legalized gay marriage. In Minnesota, voters defeated an anti-gay marriage measure—an extremely rare victory up to now.”  It is amazing how much society truly has evolved and started moving forward with the LGBT community.

“I didn’t know you had families,” said Mitt Romney. I was speechless when my younger sister told me about his latest anti-gay comment—that is until I burst out into tears. Overtaken by many emotions I went into the “ugly cry.” I couldn’t believe how this man could possibly be up for election—pure hatred and ignorance. After I calmed down I got angry. Frustration followed and I found some peace in reading all the support from allies that showered the web. It was with the help of our allies that we were able to win! All of our efforts were heard.

            Although some very important propositions were passed here in California, such as prop 30 (fund education), prop 35 (human trafficking) and prop 36 (three strikes law); I am very broken hearted about the other propositions that didn’t pass: prop 32 (special exemptions for wealthy), prop 34 (death penalty), and prop 37 (labeling GMO’s, the right to know what is in your food). We still have a lot to work on. It is very important that we remain involved now that the election is over. Big bird might have won but we still have a long road ahead for LGBT rights. Unfortunately, we are not yet fully granted the same rights as everyone else and we must continue fighting for equality! In his victory speech, President Obama said, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”  We have to try a lot harder! Make your voice heard. Get educated. Know your rights. Protect the rights of others. Let’s express our rainbow power!

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