Legislating Discrimination
July 3, 2006

So, a few weeks ago, I hinted that the local paper had interviewed me and I was waiting until the article came out before talking about it.

Here's the back story:
The city council of the town I live in decided to add an ordinance which would ban discrimination against gays. But before they voted on the issue, some of the right-wing extremists got wind of the proposed ordinance and started pitching a fit. After starting a site (nospecialrights.net) which condones discrimination and, in fact, spreads mistruths or misconceptions, the local HRC decided that there should be some stories in the local paper which talked about why an anti-discrimination ordinance might be helpful and why it's not "special rights." Why what we're asking for is simple, basic, civil rights. The right to get and hold a job on our own merits and not on our supposed sex life, the right to housing, the right to not be harassed just walking through town.

First ... the EEOC does not list "sexual orientation" as protected from discrimination. Included are: Age, Disability, National Origin, Race, Religion, Sex (including pregnancy and marital status, but not orientation).

So, the HRC was looking for people who were willing to share their stories of discrimination "on the record" and ... here was the kicker ... with their names attached to the article.

Fearing discrimination ... fearing retaliation ... fearing vandalism against home and vehicle ... fearing violence against their person, most people declined to be interviewed by the local paper.

My partner and I underwent a two-hour interview with a new-ish reporter at the local paper regarding the commonplace discriminations that happen daily in our town. The article came out today and you can find it here:
South Bend Trib Article
And, yes, this is our print newspaper. Yes, the grammar and the organization are really, truly that bad. As a former teacher of writing, I'll probably critique the article's style and grade it here tomorrow ;)

My hope is that the more we speak out, the less any legislation will be necessary.

Legislating against discrimination often simply causes a bubbling over of hatred and violence and a certain segment of the population digging their heels in and saying, no way, not me, not ever, ain't gonna "like" "them people."

Legislating against discrimination, however, gets the conversations out in the open. Even when it creates more overt violence, the ultimate results are more honest than the hidden hatreds and hidden fears.

Legislating against discrimination is not the perfect solution. But, at the moment, it's the only viable option we have to attempt to prevent discrimination.

I'm hoping the ordinance passes next week while I'm on vacation.

To be honest, I'm also hoping that no one vandalizes our house while we're gone, too ... bad timing to have an article like this come out ... and then leave ye olde homestead undefended.

Posted by Red Monkey at July 3, 2006 9:04 AM | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

otilius said:

only *sorry ass fuckers* discriminate violently...or in any way...
good luck!

July 3, 2006 11:44 AM

 

Sue said:

Living in Canada I often take for granted that others still have to fight for what in my opinion is only common sense.

Cheers to you and your partner for your bravery in being interviewed and best wishes on getting that legislation passed!!!!!

July 4, 2006 4:40 PM

 

candoor said:

it is so weird (and hypocritical) that hate crimes does not include public attempts (like the conservative site you mentionto rally people to hate and act against any group of people... as if I need to tell you, huh?...

I found a moment to visit and cheer your being who you are and your willingness to speak out about the injustice and stupidity of fear and hate...

I also love your love of toys and had fun readfing about your collection and plans for your village :)

I'm thinking good thoughts about you and hoping life is smiling big for you these days :)

July 4, 2006 5:29 PM

 

suki said:

Have a good vacation, and I really do hope things work out while you're gone! :)

July 4, 2006 9:34 PM

 

Moody Loner said:

Good luck.

July 5, 2006 8:43 AM
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