Why speaking out should matter to everyone | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Why speaking out should matter to everyone

Last Monday, August 26, 2019, started out as just another workday for me. I was tired. I’d been working a lot lately, and I had many chores to do at home. I had grocery shopping to do. I had a full day of work ahead of me before I could attend to anything on my to-do list. At that point, early in the morning and with half a cup of coffee, all I had planned to do after work was more work.

Then, before work, I ran into a friend who reminded me about the first reading of the proposed Fairness Ordinance that would finally officially protect LGBTQ community members from discrimination in housing and employment. “Be sure to arrive early and sign up to speak,” she suggested.

I was still tired. I still had all those household chores and the shopping to do. But there was no escaping my need to attend this meeting. So right after work I headed for City Hall.

Why did I feel the need to speak out? After all, I am not a lesbian or a bisexual. The Fairness Ordinance could have no effect on my life whether it passed or not, right?

Wrong. The lack of a Fairness Ordinance protecting LGBTQ persons affects everyone. Currently, anyone can be fired if their employer suspects that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, even if they are not. Housing can be denied to anyone if a landlord thinks they might be LGBTQ or have a family member who is gay or transgender.

Anyone who either is LGBTQ or has a family member or friend who is LGBTQ (I think that covers pretty much everybody in the universe) needs to speak out in favor of this ordinance. Think about how your life or the lives of your friends and loved ones could possibly be negatively impacted and probably already has been by the lack of this ordinance. Then speak out!

As I waited my turn to speak at City Hall, I was dismayed at the number of people who identified as Christians who spoke in opposition of the Fairness Ordinance. They brought their family members to oppose the ordinance, as well. They say they are morally opposed to LGBTQ activity. (Fine. Don’t engage in it.) They say they don’t want to be “forced” to accept an alternative lifestyle. (Nobody is forcing you to adopt a lifestyle. You can continue to keep the lifestyle you already have.)

The main objection seems to be that the vocal sort of Christians who show up to speak against the Fairness Ordinance simply want LGBTQ people to disappear (this theory was borne out by some of the Christians muttering, “Good riddance” when a speaker said that some LGBTQ community members had moved away due to feeling unwelcome in Georgetown.) Or, failing in forcing LGBTQ community members to move away, to get them to go back into the closet and pretend to *not* be gay, or transgender, or anything that makes the Christians feel like the world has moved on from the 1950s or that there are other cultures, other religions, other ways of thinking in this great world of ours.

Trying to forcefully pretend that gay and transgender people don’t exist is not going to allow your children to grow up in an imaginary “Dick and Jane” world where nobody is gay or transgender. LGBTQ people have always been members of both the world community and the Georgetown community and they always will be.

The world has indeed moved on from the 1950s, and somebody needs to alert the media in Georgetown.

I know that there are many Christians out there who truly follow the teachings of Jesus, who preached love and acceptance of all. If you are a Christian who follows the actual teachings of Christ, then you need to speak up in favor of the Fairness Ordinance. If you are an LGBTQ person, then you need to speak out in favor of the Fairness Ordinance. If you are a friend or a family member of anyone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning, you need to speak up and make your voice heard in favor of the Fairness Ordinance.

I spoke out in favor of the Fairness Ordinance. Everyone deserves fairness in housing and employment. This was so important that I put off my chores and didn’t do the shopping. I had little time to prepare a speech, and only four minutes to deliver it, but I did it anyway. I felt that the City Council heard my message. I hope that many more people will choose to speak out in favor of fairness at the second reading of the Fairness Ordinance on Monday, September 9, 2019 at 6 p.m. 

NOTE: On September 9, Georgetown became the 13th Kentucky city with a Fairness Ordinance. The city council vote was 5 to 3.