An era for truly uniting

A deeper look at coming together during this time of crisis

The author is an award-winning commentator in LGBT media and the author of the memoir And Then I Danced.

I recently wrote that all we needed to do to resist Donald Trump is to be united and vote in 2018. Seems simple, doesn’t it? The most important part of that statement is “united.” Maybe I should have added the importance of being united with those who have been part of the resistance and supported our community. Then maybe I should have added that this is no time to split the community, or our vote.

The best example of our community uniting with other resistors is the successful campaign of Danica Roem to the Virginia House of Delegates’ 13th District. Her win as the first trans person to be elected to the Virginia House is even more amazing since she knocked out the anti-LGBT incumbent, Bob Marshall. That history-making win taught us a lesson: United we win, divided we fail.

Enter Chelsea Manning.

If you recall, the Army intelligence analyst was arrested in 2010 and convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.

After being sentenced to 35 years in prison, Manning came out as trans and, last year, received a pardon from outgoing President Barack Obama.

Now, Manning has announced that she will be a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unlike Roem in Virginia, Manning will be challenging a Democrat incumbent, Sen. Ben Cardin, one of the strongest voices for LGBT equality in the Senate. In her first-tweeted video, she opted not to say anything bad about Cardin, but used video of Trump. What a great way to divide us at a time when we need to be focused.

Guess the question has to be asked: While there are many anti-LGBT elected officials Manning could have run against, why pick a member of the resistance? Is Manning attempting to disrupt the movement? Is this nothing more than an attempt to remain in the public light, like a Kardashian? Manning could be an asset, a role model, but instead chose to divide us.

In times of crisis—and this is a crisis—we need to be united.