May 31, 2017 at 4:46 pm PDT | by Brian Pendleton
Brian Pendleton: #ResistMarch is about our liberties and our lives

Brian Pendleton is the organizing force behind #ResistMarch and is a leading Los Angeles philanthropist and entrepreneur. (Photo by Jon Viscott)

Before we talk about why we resist, it’s important to understand who we are. Because who we are is at the heart of why we resist, and our understanding of who we are has morphed over time.

Intersectionality is a foreign word to many people, but it is the essence of who we are as a community. It’s time we awaken to the simple fact that we cannot be reduced to five or even 10 letters. With this new understanding, we can see we are part of a much larger, more diverse human family than ever before.

We are a beautiful tapestry of concentric circles. We no longer just belong to the L or G or B or T or Q; we belong to those and many other communities. We are people of color and of faith. We are disabled. We are immigrants of every status. We are DREAMers. We are HIV positive. We have AIDS. We are educators. We are women, men, allies, friends, and family. We are teenagers and seniors. We are union members. We are wounded veterans and recent West Point graduates. We are parents and grandparents. Imagine all the possibilities. No longer do we need to identify with a singular silo. We are so much more.

We truly are the beauty of the rainbow.

Why is this important? At #ResistMarch we say, “When they come for one of us, they come for all of us!” It’s the pact we are making with each other as a community. Even though a law or other action may not be aimed directly at me, a cisgender Caucasian gay guy, if it’s aimed at anyone in our community, I will rally around them in support. It’s our very own NATO pact.

When 10 transgender people of color are murdered in the United States since Jan. 1, we must rally around our community. March in the streets with them. Attend public forums in support, donate to their charities and anything else required. We must resist.

When the United States Congress votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it may not affect your health insurance, but it will impact our community disproportionately. We must be ready to lend a hand. We must resist.

When the state of Texas or North Carolina passes bills that marginalize or, even worse, criminalize our community, you may not feel that in Hell’s Kitchen, on Lake Shore Drive, in South Beach or the Hills of Los Angeles, but we must stand with our whole community wherever they call home. We must resist.
When desperate gay Chechens are denied visas to enter the United States despite the obvious human rights abuses they are suffering, we must resist!

When people of the Muslim faith are profiled and detained simply because of how they worship, we must resist.

We resist because our work is not complete. We resist because there is a coordinated effort to criminalize us, roll back our rights and drive us into the closet. We resist because some of our lives might be better, but millions have been left behind. If we don’t lend a hand, who will?

My good friend Alan Uphold says something all the time, and it bears repeating: “This. Is. Not. Normal.” We must not let the crazy behavior of an extreme conservative minority set us back decades with their nefarious dealings with the Russians or their unholy alliance with those who would criminalize and marginalize us—or worse. We must not let Donald Trump’s erratic behavior, lack of discipline with respect to the crown jewels of our national security and work ethic become the new normal. We must resist these things at every turn.

The best way to resist is to vote.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told me this week that our community makes up 5 percent of the U.S. electorate. FIVE percent!

Imagine the greater percentage and power of the LGBT vote in progressive cities such as Los Angeles. In elections that are won by a few hundred votes, we can make the difference, and more elections than you can imagine—particularly on the front lines of our fight at the state and local level—are decided by tiny margins.

We must get serious about voting. Like wearing a seatbelt in a car or wearing a helmet on a bike, we must protect our democracy and our lives by voting. It must be second nature, and the peer pressure to vote must be overwhelming.

We are sitting where we are, not because they got more people to vote for them, but because too many of us did not vote.

We must resist apathy.

You are a member of a colorful and incredibly diverse family. Like any family, we may not agree on every approach. I ask that, in this time of serious political peril, we spend more time listening to each other and less time convening the circular firing squad. My way is NOT the only way. Your way is not the only way. Every decision is not a fight to the death. We must figure out a way to lock arms and move forward together. Our lives and liberties depend on it. That is why the first phrase in our #ResistMarch mission statement is that we “#Resist the efforts to divide us.”

When Sunday, June 11 rolls around, it is my hope that you’ll #resist the desire to stay in bed. I know 8 a.m. on a Sunday feels early. But your presence is not only requested; it is required. Our community is counting on you. Being at Hollywood and Highland will be the unifying moment that our community needs.

Join us, our allies, your friends and your family. Be seen and be heard. Express your joy and your hopes. We are a proud people and we will not go back.

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