To Protect and Further LGBTQ+ Rights, We Need Stronger Voting Rights

By: Sylvia Ruiz, Political Director at Let America Vote

Today marks the start of LGBT History Month. During this month we honor and celebrate the civil rights gains made by the hard work and sacrifices of LGBTQ+ rights activists over the years. It’s also a time to recognize that in order to protect and uplift members of the LGBTQ+ community, we must continue the fight for voting rights. Here’s a quick explanation of how LGBTQ+ issues and voting rights go hand-in-hand:

Voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ+ folks intersect in a few ways. First, some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, can be blocked from the ballot box by restrictive voter ID laws. Consider this: if a poll worker believes that a voter’s gender expression does not match what’s listed on their official photo ID, that voter may be barred from casting a ballot. Transgender folks often face additional barriers to obtaining an ID, especially if they live in a state that has made it harder to vote for people of color, low-income workers, students or any other marginalized community. No one should be intimidated out of or prevented from exercising their civic duty– which is just one of the reasons LAV continues to fight against voter ID laws.

Restrictive voting laws limit the total number of people who can vote, and disproportionately affect demographics more likely to vote for people who stand up for LGBTQ rights. However, it’s important to remember that the LGBTQ+ community is not a monolithic voting group. Like most Americans, they care about things like economic security, a clean environment, and good education systems. We fight for every American’s access to the ballot, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion — or political opinion.

At the end of the day, an attack on voting rights is an attack on civil rights. All Americans must be given the access to the ballot in order to help create the world they want to live in. That’s how democracy works. LGBTQ+ Americans, like all of us, deserve the opportunity to have their voices heard and cast ballots for leaders who represent their best interests.