Jordan Pittman, an Alabama native who lives in Birmingham, is a writer.
We are sad. We are dissatisfied. We are jeopardized. However, we are no longer surprised.
My queer friends and allies were among the state legislature's harsh and bigoted anti-LGBTQ laws throughout the day. Not to speak on behalf of the community as a whole, but I heard the same things over and over. Our fury and sadness, coupled with the acknowledgment that we all are often victimized by the Republican Party.
The Best States of the United States of 2021 ranked Alabama #46 out of the 50 states. We ranked #45 in health care and #47 in education. One would hope that the Republicans in Montgomery would improve the quality of life for Alabamians, rather than allowing them to pander to the lowest common denominator and appeal to its residents.
Every time a Kay Ivey, Tim James, or Wes Allen spews their hatred, young people in Alabama listen and learn. If they are LGBTQIA+, they learn that it is not safe for them to come out and that this state does not want or value them. Those who aren't part of this queer community learn that it is okay to ignore the whole "Love your neighbor" thing and that it is fine to discriminate against an entire group of people.
When these kinds of laws are passed, beware that these laws will affect LGBTQ people. Studies show a rise in hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people and a rise in suicides among LGBTQ people.
These legislation have a detrimental effect on the state as a whole. One common theme I heard yesterday is the desire to leave the state of Alabama. Why keep somewhere that is so hostile to us? What incentive do businesses have to come to a state that cannot attract top talent because people fled to a safer location?
Defiance is another theme I felt and heard yesterday. No one I talked to accepted defeat or that this is simply how things will be. Alabama's Republican leaders will not strip away our dignity or joy, and we remain committed to making this state a place where civil rights are for everybody. After all, it is our state, and just like the state motto says, "We Dare Defend Our Rights."
On the last day of the legislative session, Alabama legislators added their own "Don't Say Gay" amendment to a measure already intended to target the state's LGBTQ population. The measure was passed and signed by Governor Kay Ivey. Both the groups received feedback from those affected by the legislation and will be publishing a selection of essays. Follow the Reckon page on Twitter.