When responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The repeal itself of the protections of reproductive rights leaves a large portion of the population in very real danger of disability, impoverishment — even death. That the law that went into immediate effect in our home state has no exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, and limited provisions for others, is appalling and negligent on the part of Louisiana lawmakers and our governor. The Acadiana Queer Collective stands with those who will be affected and will continue to advocate beside and for them.
The verdict, however, has the potential to go even further than this already grievous harm to American rights. Many LGBTQ+ individuals, when the position was leaked last month, feared that this would lay the groundwork for the rolling back of other rights, such as the right to marriage equality, and the right to privacy which protects not just queer folx, but all Americans.
There was a fear of the return to the nightmare of the not-so-distant past, of hiding who and what we are in order to avoid prosecution, unemployment, the loss of access to medical and mental health care, or worse, and of not being able to enjoy the same rights as every other American. Justice Thomas, in his concurrence, gave vivid life to that nightmare, calling for the revisiting of those very protections.
The Acadiana Queer Collective was created to make a safe space in Lafayette and the surrounding areas by promoting unity, civic pride, and inclusivity within the city so many of us call home. Acadiana is known worldwide for its diversity and welcoming spirit, and the massive turnout for our Pride celebration earlier this month proved that reputation is well deserved. We hope, sincerely, that Acadiana will continue to carry alongside us this light of love and hope into a suddenly much darker world. It is only by standing together that we will create a better, safer world for us, and for our children.
To everyone out there who is afraid of what has happened, and what may, know this: We will support you. We will work to keep you and your rights safe and whole. We will never stop trying to make this city what we know it can be — because it has so often been. We are all in this together, and we will not back down.