Editor’s Note: I Do Care Who You Love [Updated In Light Of SB150 Passage]

Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, March 29, Kentucky Republican lawmakers passed SB150, overriding Governor Andy Beshear’s veto. Since I wrote this piece before its passage, I think it is more integral that we rally to care and protect those who are affected. Since this primarily affects young people, I think it is time to set up independent opportunities for appropriate sexual health education and to share and promote resources like Louisville Youth Group and Fairness Campaign who can assist with connecting these young people to safe spaces, actions, and care. As well, in light of these developments, if you know of anyone who needs mental health services or is contemplating suicide, or if you are in need of help, please call 988 or reach out to Louisville Metro Suicide Prevention or text LOU to 741741.

This is seemingly random, but it occurred to me while driving this morning that I have spent a lifetime telling my LGBTQ friends and straight friends, “I don’t care who you love.” I realized today that, really, that is a complete lie. I absolutely DO care who they love. I care who everyone loves. It matters. 

In the current political turmoil where members of so many communities are coming under attack from right-wing politicians with little knowledge and too much power, it does matter that we care more about who our friends in these communities love.

Now, pay very close attention. Why it matters is simple. I care about who my friends love because it is my ultimate wish for them to feel safe, protected, and happy. If for any reason that isn’t happening, I am enraged and ready to defend them without reserve. This includes friends who say they still care about people who are actively harming them, be they parents, friends, or lovers. 

I think what led me to this, today, on a drive to the office for press day, was something else very simple. I am disheartened by the lack of care, but more so by the lack of action (at times) to fight these headwinds of hatred coming from the right. 

I truly believe that the number of people who are actively hateful is small, but they are loud, and I just want to hear the volume go up in defense of those who are being persecuted by the recent slate of legislation across the country.

From Florida’s rejection of an AP African American studies course earlier this year to Kentucky’s attacks on drag performances and transgender youth, I know that those of us who care are making noise, but we are up against a right-wing machine that has prided itself on being the bigger noisemaker over the last 30 years. They have proven to be inhospitable at best, while begging the other side to remain civil, and to our detriment, we have, but because I care that my friends are alive to love and be loved, I just don’t know how much longer civility can reign. 

I am not an advocate of violence, but I think the relentless compromise that Republicans demand but never offer needs to be completely off the table going forward. I’m saying that Democrats, independents, and any others who are in complete opposition to these policies and actions taken by the Republican party need to wash their hands of the need to paint with broad strokes like “I don’t care who you love.” 

We need to actively care and to actively give a shit, just as we actively fight these policies, because the weeds are where the Republicans have dragged us, and we can scrap in the dust just like they can. 

At no point should any of these lawmakers who sign onto these bills feel that their platform is safe. Their offices shouldn’t be safe; we should always challenge them. Their businesses shouldn’t be safe; we should check when, where, and how we accidentally or forthrightly patronize their businesses and services. For instance, Lindsey Tichenor, who is attached to several anti-LGBTQ bills in Kentucky like SB 150, is a realtor for Covenant Realty, so why should she feel her business is off-limits from people who know of her harmful actions in the state legislature? 

My premise is plain. The reason why I needed to come clean about caring about who my friends love. It’s this: physical safety should be protected in America, but your ability to be a horrible human is absolutely not. There are so many ways to shut down Republicans’ ability to be nightmares. We just need to dig them up and actively use them to shut down their desire, need, or ability to create and pass legislation that harms and puts others’ real physical safety at risk.

Below is a note sent Wednesday, March 29, from Fairness Campaign executive director Chris Hartman: 

Fairness Campaign Statement on Veto Override of SB150


While we lost the battle in the legislature, our defeat is temporary. We will not lose in court. And we are winning in so many other ways. Thousands of Kentucky kids came to the Capitol today to make their voices heard against the worst anti-trans bill in the nation. They are our hope for a Kentucky future that is more fair, more just, and more beautifully diverse and accepting than ever before.

I applaud the brave protesters who stood their ground in the Kentucky House gallery today before being removed by Kentucky State Troopers. Their chants and pain were heard by all in the chamber and were a necessary show of the grief and harm Senate Bill 150 will cause. Transgender children and their families in Kentucky are scared, rightfully so. We will do all we can to ensure they can continue to access the life-saving medical care they deserve.