Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
When I was younger, voting seemed magical.
My parents would take me with them when they cast their ballots. We would walk through the parking lot and people would be waving signs and holding banners and handing out fliers with colorful pictures. When I was small, they would bring me in to the booth with them. Sometimes, if I was well behaved and no one was looking, they would let me press the buttons. They would explain to me what they were doing and why they were making the choices they made. I’d even get a sticker.
As I got older, I became the person in the parking lot with the fliers and the banners. By 5th grade, I was a poll volunteer, speaking with convection about state senators and mayors and county council races. Voting wasn’t quite as magical, but it seemed more important than ever. I understood it more—why my parents always cared so much, and why I had a day off of school, and why I stood in parking lots in the freezing cold in November. Voting matters. It did when I was 12, and it does now.
This year I am voting for the first time in Massachusetts, where Question 3—an initiative about transgender rights—will be on the ballot. This election feels personal to me, and to so many people I know. As a cisgender queer woman, my rights aren’t being voted on directly with this measure—but the rights of many in my community are—and it feels imperative to step up and do everything I can to ensure the passage of this ballot measure.
I don’t think voting is magical anymore. I’ve walked too many miles canvassing, and spent too long getting yelled at while phone banking, and read too many hurtful articles about people I love and respect.
But I do think it’s vital. Each vote is an act of defiance in the face of a system trying to deride us and count us as lesser. Each vote is a way to stand up for ourselves and our neighbors and friends and our communities. Each vote is a way of putting our beliefs—that each of us is created in God’s image—in to action.
So please vote tomorrow. And if you voted early, thank you!
You still get a sticker, and that’s pretty magical.