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The importance of electing state legislators who will unquestionably support LGBTQ+ folks cannot be overstated (sponsored)

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By Anna Hayes

Although I know I do not speak for every queer person, for many of us, coming out is difficult and scary, even when we come from families and communities that we know are loving and accepting. I am incredibly proud to be a bisexual woman, and incredibly fortunate to have a family who is just as proud of me as I am of myself. 

My path to understanding and accepting my own identity was a long and winding one. I was surrounded by queer friends throughout my adolescence and early adulthood. I will probably always remember the moment in high school when one of my dearest and queerest friends, hearing me talk about a girl, looked me directly in the eye and told me “Anna, it sounds a lot like you’re bi.”

This, combined with the fact that I was telling my friends about a girl who I thought was really pretty, might make it pretty obvious to you that I am, indeed, bisexual. For me, it was not so clear. It took me several more years after this moment to identify as queer, full of questioning and confusion, and an unhealthy dose of internalized biphobia.

Fortunately, my experience of coming out to my mom went much more smoothly than my experience of coming out to myself. I was met with immediate love, acceptance, and understanding. She has never pushed me to talk about my identity, but is always available, thoughtful, and compassionate when I want to. As I step into greater self-acceptance and self-understanding of my queerness, she is steadfast in her support.

I am incredibly fortunate to have siblings, parents, and friends who are so accepting, and to live in a community where I never have to hide my queerness. I am also aware of the profound privilege that this represents. Anti-queer legislation has reached record-setting highs over the last several years, with Human Rights Campaign reporting that state legislatures across the country were considering more than 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, more than in any of the previous five years.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested that the Supreme Court should overturn the right to same-sex marriage secured in 2015 with Obergefell v. Hodges. Even when these bills don’t pass, the emotional trauma of our lawmakers seeking to enshrine dehumanization of queer people in the law, over and over, is a heavy burden, and one which trans and nonbinary youth disproportionately bear.

The importance of electing state legislators who will unquestionably support LGBTQ+ folks cannot be overstated. Queer Nevadans deserve a protector, an advocate, someone they know will meet them with the same love, acceptance, and understanding that my mom provides me with. Who will not just ward off harmful attacks, but proactively fight to expand queer rights and protections. This Pride Month, as you cast your votes in Nevada’s Primary election, I hope you will vote for my mom, Heather Goulding, for Assembly District 27.

Happy Pride, and happy voting!

Anna Hayes

Anna Hayes (she/her) is a proud Nevadan, currently advocating for Veteran’s rights in Washington, DC. 

Paid for Friends of Heather Goulding

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