Metro Weekly

America is Not a Safe, Welcoming Place for Us

More than 75 anti-LGBTQ bills were signed into law in just two years, creating an actual State of Emergency for our community.

Photo: Francesca Tirico, Unsplash
Photo: Francesca Tirico / Unsplash

People in the United States, particularly the LGBTQ community, have become numb to the very words leaders are using to describe what is going on politically and socially. The GOP has groomed members for years to be hateful of LGBTQ people and to use all their power against any idea of equality.

The writing is on the wall: America is no longer a safe place for LGBTQ people. Earlier this summer, the Human Rights Campaign issued its first-ever warning, an Emergency Declaration, after more than 75 anti-LGBTQ bills were signed into law in just two years. An actual State of Emergency.

Soon, the LGBTQ community in America will qualify for refugee status in other countries.

But most go about their lives, thinking things will change. But what if they can’t? What if they don’t? How long do we wait to be safe and happy? I’ve waited a lifetime.

One of the smartest men in the world, Albert Einstein, didn’t believe Hitler was going to be of much consequence. He and many others still saw Hitler as transitory, as barely holding on. He thought Germany had a “childish disease of the Republic” and that was causing Hitler’s rise. He even told Jewish organizations that “any special reaction to the election results would be quite inappropriate.”

By 1932, war was looming and Einstein could see the writing on the wall. In December of 1932, he left Germany for America and never went back. When Hitler took the oath of office in January of 1933, Einstein and his first cousin/wife Elsa were in Pasadena, California.

The next year, Einstein would leave Pasadena for Belgium. He made his first anti-Hitler comments then, saying, “As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance, and equality of all citizens before the law prevails. These conditions do not exist in Germany at the present time.”

It can be argued that civil liberty, tolerance, and equality of all citizens no longer exist in the United States, and, quite frankly, never has. I am 60 and LGBTQ, and never have I been equal. The Democrats, holding the House and Senate seventeen times during my lifetime, have not codified any laws to protect me in earnest. The court gave marriage, and it can take it away, just like a woman’s right to choose and affirmative action. Anything can be undone.

So when do we, as a people, say enough, it’s time to go to Ireland, or the EU, or even Mexico, where our rights, our lives, are protected and respected? How long do we keep hoping America will change enough for us to be safe?

Are we like Einstein, simply refusing to believe until Donald Trump wins the presidency again and suddenly all our protections are removed? How many times do we have to be killed, voted against, legislated against, demeaned on national TV by major political figures, or attend yet another funeral before we get it? America, as a whole, is not a safe, welcoming place for us.

Many are quick to cite polls that say a majority of people agree with same-sex marriage, disagree with drag bans, and want trans lives protected. Well, those sentiments are not reflected in actual policies. In fact, our opponents are passing anti-LGBTQ legislation, not pro.

Blue states can’t protect us from an out-of-control electorate, from killers, haters, bigots, and religious zealots. And I am tired of fighting the same fights over and over again when other nations get it more right than we do. They are not perfect, but the LGBTQ communities of Canada, Ireland, and the EU don’t live the same way that we do. They don’t suffer the same way that we do. They don’t die in the numbers that we do at the hands of groomed bigots all under the silent approval of a Republican party wrapped in the protective cloak of religion.

Republicans openly carry swastikas at rallies; they idolize Putin, whose best friend in Chechnya has opened concentration camps for suspected gays. As more of the world turns against the LGBTQ community, the GOP actually sends envoys to help them with their hatred. We are exporting hate.

The gay community has suffered enough. It’s time for us to think about leaving should the GOP take power again. Einstein knew when it was time to go. And I may not have his equational savvy, but I can read this formula, see the similarities, and know the outcome. If Red wins, Pink loses.

Start exploring places to go in the world where your life will be easier. You may think it unfathomable. But what’s unfathomable is staying in a country turning to fascism, theocratic rule, and White cis-gendered male ideologies of old.

They don’t want us here, and maybe it’s time we evaluate, truly evaluate, why we stay. Is America today worth fighting for? Dying for? If you are gay, is your life here, this country, worth sacrificing your freedom, your happiness, your actual life?

These are real questions facing our community, and our leaders should be asking them. Our leaders should be talking about the exodus that will need to happen if the Red wins. The America we want, and need, has always been a myth — it doesn’t exist. And the GOP has no desire to make it a reality.

We are in a very dark chapter in our history where a former President can be accused of 74 felonies that verge on treason and still fundraise and garner a high approval rating. Why? Because over 70 million people think we are groomers and pedophiles again.

I may not be Einstein, but I’m smart enough to know that I don’t want to live the rest of my years in a country filled with division, hatred, and bigotry toward LGBTQ people.

There is a better life for LGBTQ Americans out there if we are brave enough to admit this country, for us, is over.

Einstein’s famous equation was actually proven by a gay man named Arthur Eddington. If Eddington were in the U.S. right now, Einstein would tell him to be prepared to leave. Just as I’m telling you.

Charles Karel Bouley is a broadcaster, entertainer, and writer. His podcast, The Karel Cast, is heard three times weekly on all streaming services and at Visit for more.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!