Meet Melissa

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Meet Melissa

This month, we’re excited to highlight some amazing members of the LGBTQ community, who are proud to stand with Sherrod.

Learn more about Melissa (she/her/hers)—a veteran and strong Sherrod supporter—and about why this election is so important to her:

 I spent 24 years in the military, retiring at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton. It was a tough time to be a minority in the military, especially being female and a member of the LGBTQ community.

Emotionally, things like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” took a toll on me. I wasn’t able to be out while serving in the military. I wasn’t able to get married. When “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed, and when marriage equality became a reality, those decisions changed my life. That’s not just true for me, but for a lot of people.

I retired from the military in 2013, and since then, have become politically active. I hear people say, “Oh, you’re retired, you should be off on a beach somewhere,” but instead, I spend a lot of my time volunteering around the causes that are important to me. I do that because we can’t afford to be complacent.

I get nervous that people see milestones like the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, and think that the fight for equality is over. It’s not. I have friends who are married and are afraid they’ll face discrimination when they’re looking for jobs. I have friends who don’t want to get married at all because they’re afraid of discrimination in the workplace. We still have work to do to make this state a truly equal place.

I’m proud to stand with Sherrod because he fights for equality. He’s always stood with LGBTQ Americans, and right now he’s a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which will go a long way in helping members of my community get the protections they need. When I hear him speak about issues facing Ohio, and facing the LGBTQ community, it’s clear that he’s our champion in the Senate. And we need to keep our champion there.

A lot of people say, “My vote doesn’t count,” or “I don’t have an opinion.” They see themselves as a small drop in a big bucket. But whatever it is you care about, whatever is going on right now that you feel is important, that you feel isn’t right—you should cast your vote. You have to make your voice heard. And if you care about any of the major issues facing our country, especially the ongoing fight for true equality, you should make your voice heard for Sherrod.