Opinion: We fought so hard for equality. We thought we won, and here we are again. We must act. | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Opinion: We fought so hard for equality. We thought we won, and here we are again. We must act. 


I attended my first pride parade when I was 10 days old. On the corner of 15th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, my sister, Emily, and I napped in our shady stroller, which was absolutely covered in miniature rainbow flags.  

Countless LGBTQ members and allies stopped to take in what appeared like a miracle. Of all the people impacted by our moms’ decision to bring us along that day, Emily and I were the very least.  

If humans could support all kinds of people before they could say their first words, what else were we capable of?  

Five years later, I was shouting clever protest rhymes outside the U.S. Capitol building in D.C., pleading for the legalization of gay marriage. My mom had me propped up on her shoulders, so I could see the hundreds of other two-mom families; I had never seen so many of us in one place. 

As an all-female household, women’s rights were at the crux of our thriving family. This was the message that my parents instilled in me. We were not just fighting for gay rights, but for the rights of every woman everywhere. Because my parents are gay, they knew what it was like to be marginalized: they cared enough to bring their infants to the front lines of the fight.  

So when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, my moms and I felt the hollowness of two losses. One, the disrespect for a woman’s bodily autonomy, and two, the possible reversal of gay marriage, as alluded to in a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas.  

You don’t have to be gay to be disturbed by this decision, you just have to understand that Roe touches the lives of all people.  

The rollback of Roe hit so close to home because my moms had previously witnessed the personal repercussions of leaving human rights issues up to the states. When my sister and I were born, it was up to the states to recognize same-sex adoptions. If we had lived anywhere other than New York, our non-biological mother would not have had custody over us, or so I’ve been told. 

Our shock doesn’t just derive from the deeply personal element of this decision, nor the blatant disregard of precedent, but from the feeling of a false hope, of a fruitless effort. How could we have fought so hard to be recognized as a people, as a family, just to lose again?  

We were doing so well, we thought. How could we have come so far just to turn back around?  

My family cannot be the only one that mourns this defeat, a  déjà vu of sorts for social justice activists around the world who are tired of revisiting their oppressive pasts.  

Whether or not you have two moms, two dads, or identify as LGBTQ yourself, Roe’s upheaval will have a ripple effect. It’s time that we stop reliving what we tirelessly toiled to escape. From my family to yours, the time for action is now.   

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About the author

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle internship program trains college students, both from Wisconsin and elsewhere, who are considering a career in journalism. Rachel Gorman-Cooper, of New York, is the Chronicle’s 2022 summer journalism intern. She served as a Kol Koleinu Teen Feminist Fellow, attends Smith College and is an active member of the Smith College Jewish Community organization.