I have to stop looking at the news. I’d say turn off, but does anyone still watch the nightly news?

Every day there’s another story about a state legislature denying access to medical care for trans youth (and in some instances adults). More news about drag queens being banned from reading to children or performing their shows as they always have. Or news that another school district or state has banned queer-oriented books, which in my head says that’s the quickest way to get a child to read something you don’t want them to.

Most of that news has centered around Florida as Ron DeSantis continues to pummel the queer community in the name of a presidential bid. However, this week it’s been about Texas, which has now sent their trans health care ban to the governor – ahem, future presidential candidate – for his signature. As a seasoned politician who has no shame when it comes to staging publicity stunts instead of enacting sound policy, he will no doubt make some show of him signing these bills.

Because this isn’t good policy. And this isn’t about protecting children or parents’ rights. This is about bowing to a small group of far-right organizations and individuals to protect politicians’ standing within their own party but more importantly their own position in the political arena. Why come up with some sort of real policy or real solutions to problems when you can just posture and hope no one notices you aren’t really doing anything to help your constituents?

Like most of this legislation across the country, these latest laws will end up in litigation, wasting millions of Texas taxpayer dollars. All in the hopes that the legislation will reach a conservative Supreme Court that will roll back advancements made by the queer community since Stonewall.

So what is a queen to do besides feel overwhelmed?

The suggestion has been made that I can always leave Texas, where I have spent my entire life. And the answer to that is yes. I can leave the state. My husband can work from anywhere, and I have an architecture career spanning 25+ years and two businesses. I wouldn’t foresee relocating being an impossibility.

Except that’s my privilege. And not everyone shares that. What happens to the people who must stay here? Do parents watch their trans kids detransition? Do they worry about being arrested or having their children taken should they continue medical care? Do drag queens give up their work or face being arrested and fined?

I saw an Instagram post today suggesting that gays no longer vacation in Florida in response to DeSantis signing the latest slate of anti-LGBTQ bills. That instead we spend our dollars in friendly states. While I like that sentiment – because money talks – the amount we spend in Florida is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall tourism dollars Florida takes in.

As someone who is in Key West once a year, I can just imagine the impact – not on the state, but on the queer and queer-friendly businesses we frequent when there. The same goes for the Ft. Lauderdale/Wilton Manors area. While denying Florida that tax money, do we risk gay-owned businesses closing across the state because we’ve stopped coming? Do we end up eating our own? Do we follow suit and ask people not to come to Texas?

Because I think that will happen on its own. Organizations will elect to avoid the state when scheduling their next convention. Sports organizations will opt to find a friendlier and more inclusive venue. Businesses will find other states to relocate to that won’t place their employees in danger or force them to leave the company because their families aren’t safe. That is the money that talks and will talk.

So what do we do?

We continue to support the politicians, organizations, and businesses that support us. When we do travel, we spend our money at queer-owned businesses, so we are lifting them up instead of punishing them for being located in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, etc. And we speak out against this type of hate.

But what we don’t do is leave. Because not everyone can, and the ones who can’t need our support.

That’s what we do.