This is my first official entry as a Bilerico Poster. I feel honored to be among such a talented group of people!
How did I get here? Two years ago I had no idea what Indiana Equality was. In 1999 my son came out and I wanted to meet other parents of GLBT children, so I went to a PFLAG meeting. The three components of PFLAG are Support, Education and Advocacy. I received a lot of support and education over the next few years. Then I got brave and marched in my first Pride Parade. I began to sit at PFLAG booths at conferences and festivals. I had reached the Advocacy level.
In May, 2005 I was invited to attend a weekend retreat of Indiana Equality. Not knowing anything about this organization, I spent 2 days learning about issues facing the GLBT community in Indiana and what was needed to be done. I also learned that the Human Rights Ordinance, which would give equal rights in housing and employment to the GLBT community, as well as all veterans and the disabled, was going to be voted on again. Since I had been at the City-County Council the night it was voted down, I wanted to be involved to get this all-important ordinance passed.
So, I went to IE meetings, met City-County Councillors, made phone calls, wrote letters, and gave all the support I could. I spent hours at hearings listening to courageous members of the GLBT community, as well as straight allies, sharing their stories. I also heard hateful rhetoric against this community. It made me angry, but also strengthened my resolve. What an exciting ride this has been! On December 19, 2005, I sat with my straight and GLBT friends at the City-County Council building, praying that the majority of Councillors would "do the right thing". The Ordinance passed by ONE VOTE! What excitement went through us all! Over 50 elated people celebrated that night at Scholar's Inn. I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my life!
Now that the Ordinance has passed, there is still more work to do. The opposition still wants to strip away any rights given to the GLBT community. There are attacks on adoption rights, family planning, and of course the all-important issue of marriage. But on the other side, there are good things happening. People are more aware of GLBT issues because of films such as "Brokeback Mountain" and "Transamerica". There are a lot of straight allies out there. We just have to get the message out! People WANT to help if they are just asked.
Last week I was elected president of the Indianapolis Chapter of PFLAG. I hope I can use my voice to get the message out and show people that GLBT families are no different than any other family - we want the same things for our children and have the same dreams and expectations for them as any other parents. Thank you for allowing me to share the message here!