A Full-Time Job
Being an advocate for gay rights, marriage equality, and anti-bullying of LGBTQ youth could be a full-time job.
This week alone, the following local news stories caught my attention, incensed me to action, and made me wonder at the sheer stupidity of some of my fellow Iowans:
1. Bob Vander Plaats and the Family Leader are back, once again ridiculing everything that Iowa Safe Schools has done with the Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth. Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, has launched the Words Matter campaign to sponsor youth for the 2016 conference. Monson asks, “Were we at the same conference?” The answer: Vander Plaats was NOT at the conference. Some people pretending to be allies sneaked into the conference, and were APPALLED by things they did not understand. Sam Killermann and Coco Peru are comedians. They draw attention to relevant social issues through comedy. To take either of them out of context would be to ignore the message they both delivered: it is okay to be different, and all lives matter.
2. People continue to think that the Catholic Church is going to change. This came up twice in the past two weeks, first with Dowling Catholic refusing to hire a promising substitute teacher loved by the students because his Facebook page showed he was engaged to a man, and Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha fired an award-winning teacher for being gay and wanting to marry a man.
I taught in a Catholic school for two years. I did not break the church. I broke myself against the church. The only way to break the church is to force them to go broke, as poor in funds as they are in following their fundamentals. Freedom of religion makes the United States great. The Church is protected from laws that would force them to hire and maintain individuals who do not adhere to the church’s beliefs. Trust me, we want this. We do not want the church to impose their rights on all; therefore, we allow them the right to impose their rights on their followers. If you don’t like it, don’t send your kid to Catholic school. If your child doesn’t like the rules, allow her to enroll in the school of her choice. It’s that simple.
3. Someone threatened to bomb PrideFest. Thankfully, they caught the guy, but the threat is real. I will be at PrideFest. People I love are going to be at PrideFest. However, as the article says, this is 2015. You’re not going to scare us away. You’re going to make us dig deeper into our pockets so we can ensure Capital City Pride can afford more police presence. CCP does a fantastic job, and they are going above and beyond this year by making the street fair a free event. This is going to be a banner year for PrideFest.
On a positive note, it looks like Iowa may pass an anti-bullying bill this year. This would go a long way toward making schools safer, and toward changing opinions about acceptable behavior. For example, I want to live in a world where it’s okay for two guys to kiss, and it’s not okay for someone to interrupt that kiss by walking up to them screaming about devils and sin.
On another positive note, some of my favorite authors are doing a charity event today, #LGBTQ Pushback Fundraiser.
Why isn’t being an advocate my full-time job? Many of the people who sponsor the events I’ve attended are employed full-time, and still find time to contribute. I want to help them all. The Project. Iowa Safe Schools. CCP. #LGBTQ Pushback.
I’m going to keep giving back in any way I can. I’m also going to keep my day job so I can afford to help.