I’m having trouble getting worked up about our governor’s bigotry … again.

Last week, I spent Wednesday in a room with 150 inspiring people who are working to save lives in Maine by preventing overdoses. Days before, I provided HIV test results to people struggling with homelessness, poverty and survival sex work. On Friday, my colleagues and I trained a health care center on serving the LGBTQ community and taught them horrifying health statistics like the fact that 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide and 63 percent have suicidal ideation.

I am exhausted. The Health Equity Alliance LGBTQ Services team is hustling across the state to keep lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people alive. But the headlines are hustling something else: News that the governor of Maine is using his time to fight federal civil rights protections for transgender students.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering about the transgender student who hears that and thinks “no one wants me around.” The young trans person who feels alone, unloved and feared. The person hearing that violence against transgender people is justified.

When people who are in positions of power take the microphone to incite fear, they set a dangerous precedent. Politicians encourage public outrage over issues that are cruelly fabricated. Voters encourage officials like Gov. LePage to continue rants against marginalized people for entertainment value. Let’s not pretend that words do not have consequences.

For the majority of Mainers who disagree with LePage’s attacks on trans people, people of color, refugees, people in poverty, our reaction can’t be to throw up our hands, as much as that’s what I want to do.

We have to spend time talking to our neighbors and put the choice to them. If you condone his words, lives will be lost. Hate perpetuates violence, and that is not a Maine value.

Vanessa Macoy

Augusta