As the 2022 midterm elections are fast approaching, having an informed LGBTQ+ electorate here in Ohio is more important than ever.
With divisive issues like HB 616 now on the table this season, elections provide a vital opportunity for Ohioans to make sure their voices are heard regarding legislation that is threatening the LGBTQ+ community.
But first: you have to know who you’re voting for!
To give people the chance to hear from the candidates themselves, the organization Get the Vote Out is hosting an LGBTQ+ Meet the Candidates Social on Wednesday, April 20th at 5:30pm at Stonewall Columbus, in conjunction with the Central Ohio LGBTQ+ Leadership Roundtable,
The Buckeye Flame chatted with Brad Henry of Get the Vote Out to learn more about this event and the opportunity it presents for political engagement.
Describe the Meet the Candidates Night and what will be happening.
The candidate night is a social happy hour, so it’s an opportunity for the community to meet with the candidates that are running, either state-wide or throughout central Ohio. It’s one of the rare times you actually get some one-on-one face-time with a lot of candidates.
Why is this event important, and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
I think after the announcement of House Bill 616, this evening is extremely significant. In addition to meeting their constituents, it’s also an opportunity for the politicians to speak, about what thier plans are to support the LGBTQ+ community. My suspicion is that HB 616 will be front and center. But it’s not the only issue; it’s just a very significant, scary one.
What are some key issues that people should be thinking about in the upcoming elections?
Of course, there’s a lot of legislation that’s still pending in the state of Ohio. Technically the LGBTQ+ community is still not even protected in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations. There are myriad bills associated with limiting the transgender community, everything from participation within sports to bathroom bills that keep cropping up across the state. It’s a busy time to be gay and involved in politics!
Why is the 2022 election so important, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community?
The previous elections have been exhausting. We have been exploited and exposed in a variety of ways for political gains by some politicians, and it is honestly wearing people down. It’s tough, but we have to stand firm.
It’s like having kids. Any parent will tell you that during the first six months, you don’t get to sleep. And that’s kind of how I feel we are; but in some instances, the politicians are the kids, and we don’t have the luxury of sleep.
What can people do to make sure their voices are heard?
One, register to vote. Two, vote. And three, they can do simple things such as calling people that are currently in office to ask them to show support or stand against certain issues.
Equality Ohio, the League of Women Voters, and Get the Vote Out are all working together around Prides in Ohio to register voters for the month of June. That’s going to be a big priority.
- Attend the LGBTQ+ Meet the Candidates Social on Wednesday, April 20, at 5:30 pm at Stonewall Columbus.
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