White Man’s Burden

Here, in my state a showdown is brewing between the LGBT community and legislators in the capitol.

Idaho passed a Human Rights Act a number of sessions ago believing their votes showed what good folks they were.  They won’t discriminate against women, Jews, Blacks, or Japanese Americans who were interned here during WWII.  There will be no genocide, no back of the bus, nor will camps hold citizens.

These largely white, male reactionaries didn’t realize they had opened a Pandora’s Box of outcomes.  Where they thought they had passed an ‘everybody wins,’ warm and fuzzy law, the residents of Idaho took the lawmakers at their word.

That brings our story to today.  The LGBT community has nearly begged lawmakers to ‘Add the Words’ to the previous Act.  Four words to be precise.  The gay community insists that Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity amend the law as it stands currently.  However, lawmakers will not permit any hearing or even tolerate such an incomprehensible notion.  That is this conflict in a nutshell.  The majority of rural-dwelling, agrarian conservatives cannot fathom that alternative sexuality is real.  Roosters like hens, steer like cows, billy’s like nanny’s.  It’s very simple.  For the religious right, they look to multiple translations and versions of the Bible, and Adam and Eve reads clearly.

The problem centers on real life and real people.  Whether most farm animals (most) behave according to expectations, humans are something more.  Sexuality isn’t a black and white issue like race relations.  And the gay community is real and is suffering.  Simply because those in power refuse to recognize reality–physical bashing, job and housing discrimination, bullying, it is happening.  Haters know what lawmakers refuse to see.  By taking no action the Idaho legislature has condoned persecution.

I am reminded of a story of Queen Victoria.  It was the late 1800’s in London and Jack the Ripper was waging terror in the impoverished White Chapel neighborhood.  However, the Queen refused to recognize the crimes because she did not believe prostitution was real.  How could there be prostitutes murdered when the profession did not exist.  End of problem.

The LGBT community is real.  Even if law makers refuse to recognize the demographic, everybody else in society does.  That’s why the discrimination and abuses are carried out.  Legislators may not believe in alternative lifestyles, and in return we are certainly losing our belief in our legislators.

There are gay characters in my book, River of January, and though it wasn’t my business to out them, I could see they suffered.  One in particular lost his career and died very young after an unhappy, unfulfilled life.

This is, in America, and in my state, the last acceptable prejudice.  Those who govern the people must govern for all the people, whether or not they personally approve of alternative lifestyles.  E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many Come One.

2 comments on “White Man’s Burden

  1. Jamie K. Donaldson says:

    Nicely put, Gail. The reference to Queen Victoria is an interesting and effective one. Out of sight, out of mind. And in this case, out of heart, too. Shame on Idaho legislators.

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