Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Are You Going to Do?

This morning I caught part of a local newscast on the radio and heard that Newark, a fairly small town in Ohio, will be adding protection against discrimination for LGBT folks to their existing laws that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and other areas. The city council voted on it last night and I heard a brief interview with a councilman in which he said the events in Orlando at least partly inspired their decision.

I do not believe that good must come from tragedy. Good begets good, you know? Tragedy begets pain, sorrow, and suffering. But it helps if we can find some meaning in a great loss, and if some good can come from this, then let it come. Let our tears of sorrow water seeds of hope. We reap what we sow, but we do not have to reap what one gunman tried to sow in Orlando. Let's sow something else. Let's sow love and peace and acceptance where he tried to plant hate.

I have decided to contact my landlord, which is actually a fairly large property management company, and ask them to develop a written policy against discrimination against LGBT tenants, because they do not currently have one. They comply with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of race, religion, disability, etc. But does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

So in addition, I plan to contact HUD and ask them why the FHA doesn't include that.

What are you going to do?  It can be something little. Like saying "Hey, that's not OK" the next time you hear a gay joke. Or it can be as big as writing President Obama telling him we need federal laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. It isn't so much what we do that matters, sometimes, but that we do something. 

We need to mourn for the dead. And we need to acknowledge that we fear for our own safety. But after the tears, we need to act. Action is what fights fear. And of course, it is what brings change.

So do something. This is the time to act.

And reply to let me know what you're going to do.  I really want to know.

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