I still remember my emotions the night of November 4, 2008 right before Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Chicago. I had those overwhelming feelings that I had taken part in something great. Change was about to happen and I was a contributing factor.
We all know that change takes time, but I still recall those feelings of hope and change from election night. These feelings remind me that the midterm election is fast approaching and is just as important as that presidential election was. As a young queer womyn of color, I've learned that I must speak up for myself. Voting has become so important in my life as it is a chance for me to utilize my voice and my vote.
This inspired me to join the Queer the Vote campaign efforts put forth by the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, which has been a driving force in engaging LGBTQ youth to create a government that is truly representative of its people. Looking back on the 2008 elections, it's exciting to remember the significant changes that took place throughout the country. Young voter turnout was at its highest in years and had a crucial impact on the election results. After Election Day in 2008, many Americans were hopeful for the necessary change coming to our country as Barack Obama took office. Let's take a look at the impact youth voters had on election season and how to keep this momentum going!
The amazing people at Rock the Vote have a detailed portion of their website dedicated to examining youth voters and their influence. The number of 18-29 year olds voting in primaries and caucuses in 2008 was 103% more than in the previous set of primary elections. Although all age groups had an increase in voter turnout in 2008, the youth vote was the most significant.
The purpose of Queer the Vote efforts are not only to engage youth but to engage youth within the queer community. Queer youth are at extremely high risk for discrimination and homelessness and must be empowered to voice their experiences through their vote. The midterm election is just as imperative as the presidential election and there needs to be serious acknowledgment of its importance to young people.
It is the time for our country to elect members of Congress; all 435 seats in the House and 37 out of the 100 seats in the Senate will be decided in this election. This is our chance to elect members and allies of the LGBT community so that issues regarding queer youth can be addressed.
I'm writing today to call attention to all LGBTQ youth to get excited for this midterm election and get as involved as possible. There are 44 million young people eligible to vote this year, which includes an extremely diverse community. Young people proved how powerful their voice and vote was in 2008 and this strength needs to be utilized once again.
This is where NYAC and our Queer the Vote campaign comes into play! Queer the Vote efforts will attempt to engage queer youth to express their opinions on the overwhelming presence of homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia in our schools, on our streets, and in our communities. This midterm election is a crucial chance for youth within the queer community to queer the vote!
NYAC is currently putting together a Queer the Vote video project that asks queer youth to submit short videos of themselves explaining or describing how voting has been important in their lives. The project is a chance for queer youth to hear personal stories from their peers to motivate them to get involved and vote. The project will be launched on our Queer the Vote website in the near future and NYAC is currently accepting videos! Create a short video and upload it to your YouTube account and email us the link. Below is an example of the video submissions we're accepting.
Queer the Vote is just one of the many efforts to engage queer youth in the upcoming election. Youth are critical to this election and need to be involved in order for the larger LGBTQ movement to move forward. This call to action is for youth to get involved and encourage their peers to queer the midterm election!