North Texas Daily

Gen Z are inspired by LGBTQ issues to vote in upcoming election

Gen Z are inspired by LGBTQ issues to vote in upcoming election

Gen Z are inspired by LGBTQ issues to vote in upcoming election
November 07
16:37 2022

Reactions to Gov. Greg Abbott’s LGBTQ policies have ignited Generation Z to register to vote in the face of an upcoming gubernatorial election.

Abbott’s legislation has demonstrated unwavering opposition to issues that address the state’s LGBTQ population — from same-sex marriages to the involvement of transgender athletes in sports and gender-affirming care for transgender children. 

In the same year he was elected, Abbott expressed his disapproval regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling over same-sex marriages. His response announced that he would continue to defend Texans’ religious liberties and those who believe marriage is “only the union of one man and one woman.”

In 2019, he signed SB 1978 into law. The bill prohibited government entities from acting against businesses and individuals with certain religious beliefs who donate to organizations or businesses because of those beliefs. Upon signing the bill, Abbott stated “Texas protects religious liberty.” The bill’s critics argued that it promoted underlying anti-LGBTQ messages. In 2021, he signed House Bill 25 into law, which requires transgender student-athletes in grades K-12 to compete in sports teams of the sex indicated on their birth certificates. 

There is concern amongst the Gen Z voting population that Abbott’s legislation, particularly the policies that directly impact LGBTQ youth, has challenged their mental health. 

“Let them decide,” said Mikeisha Weatherd, an 18-year-old pre-med psychology student who will be a first-time voter in this election. “[Transgender children] haven’t been able to be themselves. Now, when they talk to their parents and tell them that they want to be a boy or that they want to be a girl, it’s considered child abuse for letting a child decide their own course of action.”

Earlier this year, Abbott issued an executive directive that called the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to conduct investigations for child abuse in families with children who have sought gender-affirming care.  The denial of health care to transgender children has caused an uproar of protestors against non-LGBTQ officials who they believe are making life-defining decisions over individual people’s bodies.

“Republicans — particularly Greg Abbott — are being intentional about restricting rights for LGBTQIA individuals and restricting their access to gender-affirming care,” said David Muñoz-Sarabia, a political science and digital detailing senior. “If getting that care helps them be themselves, our representatives should be making sure they are not creating roadblocks for them to get there.” 

Compared to the voter turnout of previous elections, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights issues have potentially shifted the prime participants of our upcoming state election.

The voter registration turnout of young women this year has been particularly notable. The recent criminalization of abortions and the prevention of access to medical services for the LGBTQ population have driven them to voter registration booths.

“If I have to put a figure on it, I would say that about 60 percent of those registering are female and 40 percent are male,” said Mike Yager, co-leader of the Denton Vote Group, a non-partisan organization that focuses on voter registration, education and civic engagement. “We ask young women ‘Have you registered to vote?’ and we get a flash of enthusiasm when they say ‘Yes, I did.’”

This younger generation of voters is loud and clear in expressing their desired political outcomes. They are reminding each other to vote Abbott out of office. They are active on social media, particularly on Twitter and Instagram, voicing their political opinions. 

“We have the ability to hire or fire any representatives for how they’re performing,” said Muñoz-Sarabia. “As Gen Zers, we’re doing a great job at communicating that, and hopefully we’ll do it via the ballot box as well.”

Design Credit: Deane Marshall

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Leslie Fuentes

Leslie Fuentes

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