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(Reblogged from May 2011)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sitting on the outside patio at a gay bar, my friends and I struck up a conversation with a couple of lesbians sitting nearby. As you might imagine we were all relaxed and enjoying ourselves but no one was embarrassingly drunk. Oddly enough, gay men and lesbians don’t always mix well, but my friends and I are not that type of gay. So, we were having fun and enjoying our new friends.

This was in CA soon after the Prop 8 fiasco. Everyone in that environment was venting their frustration and discussing LGBT issues.  I think you’d have to live in a cave not to know, but just in case, LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender.

Then to my shock, one of the women started railing about how it chafes her panties that we have to include the “T” in our fight for civil rights. Transgendered folks have an entirely unique body of issues and it irritated her that gays and lesbians got bunched in with them when it’s not the same thing. She didn’t want to have to fight for their rights.

In all fairness, it frustrates me too when homosexuality is referred to as a gender issue. Not one gay man or lesbian that I know of wants to become the other sex.  Being attracted to the same sex and wanting to live as the other sex are not the same thing at all.  But when your brain is small, lazy, confused and you can’t care enough to really think about the issue I can understand when you might label everything you don’t understand as gender confusion (Like Mormons, and their cronies  do).

But I am horrified at the notion that we should exclude anyone from a fight for equal opportunity and justice because they are not the same as us. In fact, it’s precisely the people who have the momentum of power and approval that can bring the most change. My heroes are the ones who have no personal reason to fight other than to do what is  just and right.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jim Zwerg

Take Jim Zwerg, for example.  He was a white college student who knew he’d be targeted as a “race traitor” when he joined the Freedom Riders in the 1960’s civil rights movement.  But he did it anyway.

He lost his family. His parents disowned him, but when others saw him on the TV news reports many other whites joined the fight and became an unstoppable force for good.

Segregation must be stopped. It must be broken down…We’re dedicated to this. We’ll take hitting. We’ll take beating. – Jim Zwerg

Helmuth Hübener

Helmuth Hübener was a German Mormon boy who at the age of 16 recognized the Nazi terror for what it was. He disloyally renounced his country’s leadership and dismissed his church’s policy on Nazi Germany by secretly writing, printing and distributing anti-fascist and anti-war leaflets. He recruited  two other young friends who scattered the documents throughout Hamburg by surreptitiously pinning them on bulletin boards, inserting them into letterboxes, and stuffing them in coat pockets.

At the age of only 17 he was arrested, ex-communicated by his church, tried and executed in Berlin. He wasn’t Jewish. He wasn’t a Gypsy or a Homosexual or part of any other targeted group but when he saw injustice and tyranny he resisted.

Do you know the country without freedom, the country of terror and tyranny? Yes, you know it well, but are afraid to talk about it. They have intimidated you to such an extent that you don’t dare talk for fear of reprisals. Through their unscrupulous terror tactics against young and old, men and women, they have succeeded in making you spineless puppets to do their bidding. -Helmuth Hübener

Straight Men and Women who Defend Gay Rights

When Pop 8 was passed there was a peaceful protest march in the city where I lived that attracted around 80,000 people.  I joined it. One would think it would be all LGBT folks but marching along with us there was a significant representation of straight couples and friends who were as outraged as those of us directly impacted.

Take Jeffrey Nielson, a former BYU professor or  Peter and Mary Danzig a straight Salt Lake City couple  – they lost respected jobs and volunteer positions for publicly defending gay marriage. Straight people defending gay rights.

Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project is now the thing to do, but early on there were videos posted by people like straight All-American Wrestler, Columbia University Coach Hudson Taylor sending a message to gay youth that you are “welcome and included in my world.” I can say for myself that as a gay teen that would have had a far greater impact on me that 10 of the other videos combined…to just know that there were men like that out there.

There are people such as Dr. William Bradshaw and Dan Pingree who publicly defend their gay LDS brothers and sons.  Yes, they do have a bit of a leg in the race, but it’s much easier and much more commonplace to sit back in apathy and ignorance.  After all, it’s not their “problem” but they’ve taken the time and thought that it requires to study it out and to reach their own conclusions independent of their loved ones.

In fact, when we examine the statements opposing gay marriage, we find few reasonable arguments. It is not enough to claim that we should oppose gay marriage because historically it has never been recognized. This is the fallacy
of appealing to tradition, which was also used to fight against civil rights and equal
treatment of women.

Further, to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear. Indeed, once you get past the emotion, it is quite an unfounded claim. How could the union of two committed and loving people negatively affect my marriage? I believe that quite the contrary is true; namely, legalizing gay marriage reinforces the importance of committed relationships and would strengthen the institution of marriage.Jeffrey Nielson

I don’t have to be a woman, black, Hispanic, disabled, lesbian, bi, or trans to believe in or fight for their rights. As much as I disagree with the LDS Church, I’d be the first one fighting for their right to worship as they please. Courageous men and women are the ones who stand up for the underdog even if they disagree and even if they’re not directly affected. It creates a better world for our children. I want my children to learn this trait but it takes prizing justice over loyalty, the reverse of what the are learning in church.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.– Oscar Wilde

So, uh yeah, I do think the “T” belongs there in LGBT.  In fact I’d also add every other letter of the alphabet that symbolizes any other group or individual hindered in any way from “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Transgendered man

Transgendered woman

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
Martin Luther King, Jr.