In its continuing efforts to reshape the federal courts in an ultra-conservative direction, the Trump Administration appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The U.S. Senate, with a vote of 52-46, confirmed Kacsmaryk to a lifetime seat.

The response was swift. On the Senate floor, Sen. Dick Durbin said Kacsmaryk was “yet another extreme nominee outside the mainstream of American thinking” and pointed out that is was “more than coincidental” that Republicans would schedule Kacsmaryk's vote during Pride Month. LGBTQ+ advocates expressed alarm. Sharon McGowan, legal director at Lambda Legal, called Kacsmaryk a “dangerous ideologue.”

What is Kacsmaryk’s background? As Vanity Fair wrote:

One look at Kacsmaryk's legal record makes this “alarming bias” abundantly clear. The now-federal judge has fought against numerous LGBTQ protections, signed on to a letter that called being transgender a “delusion,” criticized the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, and represented an Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In a 2015 article, Kacsmaryk decried the Equality Act as punishing those who “exercise their millennia-old religious belief that marriage and sexual relations are reserved to the union of one man and one woman,” and described the fight for LGBTQ rights as part of a broader “Sexual Revolution” that “sought public affirmation of the lie that the human person is an autonomous blob of Silly Putty unconstrained by nature or biology.

No matter who the leader is, and no matter what position of power, these mischaracterizations are dangerous. VideoOut’s mission is to end these destructive stereotypes that divide us by traveling around the country recording LGBTQ+ coming-out stories and lived experiences. These stories are empathic tools to educate and advocate, illuminating pieces of our shared humanity. The stories not only live in our library but in the communities we visit, serving as programming for LGBTQ+ centers in areas with few resources. As we’ve seen, one voice is important, two are powerful but a collective can make change inside even those leaders who have chosen ignorance over acceptance in the past.