Letter to the Editor: Art Linares changing his position on LGBT issues a small victory

Dear Editor,

This past Tuesday, CT State Senator Art Linares was asked a simple question -- “Can you please confirm that you support all current rights and protections for LGBT citizens in Connecticut?” His answer? “I’m not going to stand here and answer hypothetical questions to problems that don’t exist yet.” Well, Senator, the fact that LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide seems like a real problem to me.

As footage of Linares’s not-so-artful dodge spread across the activist internet, it only took a day for Linares to go on damage control. Activists joined together, flooded his office with calls and his Facebook with posts. It didn’t take long for Mr. Linares to make an about face. Word spread that he’d suddenly decided to co-sponsor popular legislation to ban conversion therapy in our state. Mr. Linares should be acknowledged for adjusting his position. But the credit is all due to the activists that held him accountable. The resistance is strong.

Just like so many times since the election, activists organized together, taking immediate action against Mr. Linares when threats to our civil rights and liberties emerged. This is what grassroots political outrage looks like  - progressives of all stripes coming together, embracing and living out the ethos that has kept our movement together: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Today more than ever, people across the country feel lost and unrepresented by our politics. Caught between legions of corporate lobbyists, stagnating wages, and constant cuts to services, there has been a growing sense of helplessness in our current political climate. That’s exactly why it’s so empowering to see a wide cross-section of progressive activists uniting together in resistance against the Trump’s concerted effort to divide our country.

Connecticut has a strong history of liberal politics, but these days, right wing Republicans are trying to change Connecticut's political legacy.  It’s troubling that Mr. Linares’ impulse was to dodge such a straightforward and important question from his constituents. Emboldened Republicans around the country have been working to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community. And now, it seems we’re witnessing the fervor of Trumpism right here in CT.

Like other minorities, LGBTQ rights and protections are essential and far from complete. Mr. Linares’ decision to change his position on the issue is a small victory for the #ResistTrump movement, but we must continue to be ready to respond at every outrage. For anyone feeling lost between politicians who don’t listen and corporate lobbyists who don’t stop scheming, please remember: Your outrage is a tool, and a widely shared one at that. Use it, and be loud about it. And look out for one another. 

Zack Campbell
Field Director, Working Families Party
Hartford
(860) 523-1433 x104