Last night I was fortunate in that I happened to be around my hometown and not Cincinnati and at the last minute my transgender friend told me of a meeting we should go to.
I live in one of the 23 or so Springfield's in the United States and not a place anyone is going to mistake for a hotbed of liberal activity. That's OK if you are talking about fiscal politics, not the social right wingers who of course base much of their anti TGLBQ beliefs squarely from the Bible.
The meeting last night was organized by Equality Ohio, who among other things is fighting for same sex marriage in Ohio (which we all know is just a legal battle away from happening) and a vastly more important anti-discrimination bill which is working it's way through the Ohio legislature again. Predictably, it always makes it through the senate and is shot down in the house of representatives and like in other places, it's a Democrat versus Republican issue. Unfortunately now, the Tea Party is beginning to rear it's ugly head here too.
I'm not going to get real political here but will simply say, personally I believe in the Tea Party's professed financial agenda but why in the hell did they feel the need to jump into a social agenda too? Locally there is written proof of a letter to the NAACP pushing the idea of TGLBQ rights possibly infringing on any of the future rights of the black population. Really? The scary thing locally is our long time state house Republican Representative ally is stepping down and a very virulent Tea Party candidate is running for his seat. They are like roaches in your tea-very hard to get out if they get in. This guy has already said he refuses to hire any GLBT employees or deal with any outside contractors who do.
Predictably, the meeting was sparsely attended and I don't make a value judgement on that either-I know many just can't when their jobs and livelihoods are at stake-and they are around here. I just happen to be at a juncture of my life where it is harder for the bigots to get after me. The group last night was diverse though, attended by two trans women, several gay men, an equal amount of lesbians and ally's. Plus, it was held in a church and the pastor attended.
What happened? We were given actual paper work, forms and phone numbers to contact our politicians. I'm the first to admit, I'm pretty jaded from a life of abuses from this country's political system - which some days I find amazing still works at all. BUT, when I was given the phone number to a very powerful politico in "Warshington" (local spelling) - Speaker of the House John Boehner, (yes I am in his district) I simply said, "I know you are a busy man but could you take a moment and reflect exactly why basic American freedoms are being withheld from a sizable portion of the population and what if they were your son or daughter?"
I don't want to walk away from this post sounding too negative. On the other hand, if any of us thinks out and out discrimination against our community is not happening should have been there with us last night to hear a few of stories. Too many of us think our freedoms are being fought for in far off lands by people in uniforms when in reality they are happening here and now.
I've said it before here in Cyrsti's Condo. You don't have to be "out" or a so called activist to make a difference when you vote. In fact you can stay safely in the closet and do the right thing- vote for TGBLQ rights.
If you follow the links above, they contain contact info.