Don't let the sea of red on the 2016 presidential electoral map fool you. The arc of American history is long, and it's rainbow-colored.
Last November the Republican candidate for president won 30 states, making them, for the next four years, "red states." Thirty is a lot of states, all with varying levels of protections for their LGBTQ citizens, but we can safely generalize on this: As a group, these states are lagging. Nationwide, the Human Rights Campaign counts 31 states that don't have comprehensive laws to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, in employment, and in receiving services. Of those 31 states, Trump won 29.
That's the discouraging news, if you're living in any of those states, or if you care about equal rights. The better news is, states are hardly monoliths. In every one, cities are ahead of the curve in making life more welcoming -- and more safe -- for diverse peoples. "Cities are the most immediate iteration of democracy that we have," says Xavier Persad, legislative counsel for the HRC in Washington, DC.