Deana Ayers, they/them, votes in Minnesota
I used to be super ‘Vote in every election, it’s super important!’ and I think I’ve grown out of that; I see voting as a tactic, but not a super important tactic. Down ballot, I’ll vote for people who actually align with my values, but I’m not going to say I owe my vote to anyone anymore. I used to feel an obligation, and I don’t now.
It’s really hard seeing people say ‘Settle for Biden!’ or ‘Vote for Biden!’ when it’s like, obviously Trump is a Republican and the embodiment of all of the racist, imperialist, classist institutions that we have…but we have this Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, who’s just not that different. He doesn’t have anything to say about defunding the police—he’s always supported the police and the prison industrial complex. Neither [candidate] thought it was important to hear from people who believe the same things I do, or share my identities, so it was basically impossible to get excited, even on a policy side, because they’re not giving me anything to work with.
Ethan Halpern, he/him, votes in Connecticut
The night [Barrett] was confirmed, it all of a sudden hit me that some rights and laws could be reversed. So in a way I’m optimistic about the future, but the Supreme Court right now is not good, and that’s not going to change. It’s one of the first times in my life where I’m like, we’re really f*cked. But even if the unthinkable happens, we’ll still be here.
Aside from the presidency, it is clear that many Americans are excited about having LGBTQ+ [legislators] represent them and have a genuine desire for change. [That’s] evidenced by the historic wins of Sarah McBride, Taylor Small, Mondaire Jones, Mauree Turner and many others. This truly excites me because while our country at large may not look “amazing,” smaller communities are coming together to support the under-represented voices and realize the change they need.
Annie Dancona, she/her, lives in Oregon
I’m 15, so for me and my friends, we just can’t vote, we’re not allowed, and so it’s hard to look at a government where you don’t feel represented. It’s a big battle of what you can do versus what you can’t. It’s very hard to feel like you have a voice.
I was feeling very optimistic, though [on Tuesday] something sunk in and I wondered, what if this doesn’t go the way I want it to go? But in general, I’ve been trying to take an optimistic stance, just to keep my mind sane. With my generation, a lot of us are turning the legal age to vote, millions of us are getting out there with our voices, and so I feel like even if Trump is re-elected, it’s not like we’re just going to give up. We’re going to fight back. So that’s how I look at it—we will not give up.
Lis Ortiz, they/she, votes in New York State
I think our government needs to be abolished—as in, our government needs to be restructured from the ground up. There’s no way to go about restructuring without completely scrapping what we have. I’m really fortunate enough to have a close circle of friends who really value direct action and organizing and taking to the streets. That’s where my political values lie, in actual, direct action. The Democratic party doesn’t do enough of that for me. It’s not as if, if we elect [Biden], systematic racism is suddenly going to disappear. For a lot of queer people of color, there is more than one “right” at stake. Not only in this election—all our lives. This country was racist before Trump got elected. The idea that all we have to do is vote him out feels somewhat lazy and disrespectful to the people who have actual stakes in every single election.