Being queer this year has felt challenging, and the year isn’t over yet.

Right wing politicians and bloggers labeling the community as pedophiles and groomers. Drag queens and transgender kids being used as click bait in the latest culture wars. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) pushing legislation across the country that has nothing to do with good public policy but with scoring political points on the backs of marginalized communities.

Moms for Liberty pushing school boards to remove books with queer content from libraries in the name of parental rights, labeling anything with the slightest hint of anything queer as pornographic. Teachers accused of indoctrinating children because they have a Pride flag hanging in their classroom. Transgender and non-conforming individuals being murdered. (Fourteen this year so far.) Parents of trans children having to decide if they are safe staying in their home states.

Then to put the icing on the cake, the US House elects a Speaker who once was an attorney for the ADF and has a history of anti-queer statements and proposed legislation. I can’t wait to see how having the lunatics in charge of the asylum works for the community in the next year.

All of which becomes almost overwhelming when you see this kind of news over and over again.

However, I was reminded while responding to an email this morning that all is not lost. That individuals – both queer and ally – are out there continually fighting for the community and showing we are not backing down from the fight. Not the first time – and surely not the last – that the queer community has been under attack, and every time we’ve persevered. Even if winning takes a while to achieve.

Plus in the midst of the bad news, we can find nuggets that indicate we are succeeding, and at the same time providing some instances of glee.

Bans on healthcare for transgender teenagers being struck down by multiple courts. Bans on drag queens put on hold as debate goes on about freedom of expression and vague laws that could sweep up everyone from a drag queen to an actor portraying the opposite sex in a play.

Particularly fun for me – and this is where the glee comes in – was watching Ron DeSantis take it in the face when Florida’s drag ban was suspended. I should be better than that. But after watching him run roughshod over the queer community this year in the hope of being president, I have taken a modicum of pleasure watching courts put the kibosh on his agenda.

At a more personal level, even with the negativity being thrown at the queer community, I am amazed at how the architecture, engineering, and construction community are working to create visibility for queer AEC members. I have become connected this year with multiple organizations that continue to elevate the community and provide a platform for queer voices.

AIA LGBTQIA+ Alliances in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix. Drag queen story hour with the Austin Alliance. The drag stage contest in Dallas – an event I could not have imagined when I started working 26 years ago.

Build Out Alliance in New York, who works to advocate for and promote the queer community in the design and construction industry.

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project that documents historic places connected to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in New York City starting in the 17th century.

Pride X Design, a fledgling but growing voice in the queer architecture community, helping to elevate and amplify voices within the design community and provide resources for architects across the country.

These are connections that wouldn’t have been made even a year ago. Certainly not five years ago, when I still felt like the only gay architect in Dallas. Instead I have discovered a group of people who can remind me time and again, that I am not the only one. That there are other voices providing a counterbalance to the onslaught of disheartening news we have been hearing.

And to remind everyone that the queer design community is here, we are continuing to connect, and even at the worst moments, that all is not lost.