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Perspective: Setbacks, violence, and a victory

Maico Pereira

It’s been an exhausting and complicated few weeks to be a Queer person living in the US. Last month, a shooter killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado. Trans kids continue to be targeted by state legislatures. Right-wing militias have shut down drag events across the country with increasing ferocity. On Thanksgiving, Diamond Jackson-McDonald became the 35th confirmed Trans or Non-Binary person to be murdered in the US this year. Last week, the Supreme Court seemed to side with a website designer wishing to exclude gay couples despite public accommodation laws restricting such discrimination. And this week, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, ensuring that same-sex marriages must be recognized, regardless of hostile state laws.

As a person in a same-sex marriage, it’s impossible not to feel relief right now—but it’s complicated. To be a minoritized community living through these moments is to see your own humanity litigated in the public square by people you will never meet. It’s so objectifying and reductive that even hard-won progress elicits a tenuous joy. To know the difference between your rights and their denial rests in the hands of countless violent vigilantes or some few dozen members of congress or nine justices or a single president can be dispiriting.

So if you’re listening, and you’re Queer, hear this: our worth will never be measured by what is granted or taken away by the powers that be. Our worth is intrinsic, glorious, and incalculable.

Frankie DiCiaccio is an actor, theatre-maker, and arts educator.