16 Inspirational Voices for LGBTQ Equality in 2016: Raymond Braun’s Post-Election Message

As 2016 comes to a close, there is no doubt that this year was difficult for many in the LGBTQ and allied community. After a year of such celebration and momentous progress in 2015, 2016 was a shocking wake-up call to many about the realities that LGBTQ people face. From the rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation to the horrific shooting at Pulse, from the incidents of anti-transgender violence to the election of a presidential ticket that threatened to undermine equality and justice, we know that our job is more important now than ever before.

However, through these difficult times, we witnessed countless moments of inspiration. Throughout the year, time and time again, we saw people stand up and do what was right. Whether they were celebrities, politicians, a friend or just an acquaintance, we saw people stand up for equality and inspire us all. Their stories made us cry, gave us hope and reminded us that love will conquer hate.

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve faced setbacks in our pursuit of a more perfect union. But even in the darkest of moments, Americans have summoned the courage and persistence to fight on.

Entrepreneur and LGBTQ activist, Raymond Braun, who was recently named the Financial Times’ #1 young global LGBTQ leader, talks about meeting these challenges with resolve and determination after the election in a new HRC video.

“It is so important for us as LGBTQ people to not cower right now or to go back into the closet or fade back into the shadows. Now is the time for us to be telling our stories,” Braun says in a new HRC video. “We have an incredible opportunity in the wake of this election as LGBTQ people to lead by example.”

Raymond’s right. At a time like this, we don’t slow down. We double down. We must work together, undeterred and focused on our mission to realize a world in which every single LGBTQ person has the rights, privileges, and protections they deserve.

“Let all of your pain and your fear and your sadness and your anger and your frustration guide you to action and let’s continue to unify. Let’s continue to show the values to our community –the values of love, respect, dignity and equality for all people,” he continues. “Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve to be exactly who you are.”

Now more than ever, we must stand together in solidarity against an agenda of hate, division, and fear. Click here to learn for 10 ways we can stand together.

Follow along with HRC’s blog in the coming days as we recognize the people who inspired us and gave us hope, courage and strength in 2016.