Actual conversation at my house this morning:
The husband – “Are you working until 6?”
Me – “I’m not going to work. I’m going to bring down the American family.”
The husband – “You could meet us for dinner afterwards if you want.”
Today was Lobby for Equality here in Ohio. Ohio ranks 51st out of the 50 states and DC in the number of rights and protections that GLBT people have. Tomorrow the governor is going to sign an executive order protecting state workers from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation. It is the first pro-gay law in 16 years. The turnout was good for the Lobby Day. There were over 400 people signed up. The plan was that appointments were made with each of the state senators and representatives to discuss GLBT issues. I live in the middle of nowhere. It is a very rural nowhere. I was very worried that I was going to have to go to these meetings by myself.
I shouldn’t have worried. My group to see the state senator (who turns out to be the president of the senate) had 19 people. He didn’t meet with us but we talked to an aide. It was a good group made up of gay, lesbian, straight, and transgendered people. We basically went around a room and told our stories about why these issues were important to us. There was a man there who is trying to adopt with his partner and are running into problems because they are same-sex. I was able to contrast his story with my experience going through an adoption as a married heterosexual. I pointed out that kids in foster care have been removed from mainly heterosexual parents who aren’t parenting them well so that obviously being heterosexual doesn’t make you a good parent. When we went to the representative we did the same routine but when the man who is adopting went first with his story he stole my line so I had to come up with something new.
We had some downtime inbetween so I went over to an art gallery that was having a quilt show. It was on the first floor of the building with the representatives’ offices. I also strolled around the state capitol building. I took pictures like a good blogger but the husband has my cord to upload them so I’ll post later.
There were also group meetings for youth, faith, rural organizing, and straight allies. I went to the straight group. They have an organization here for straight allies of the GLBT movement. I signed up to find out about their events. Some of the people in my lobby group also got together after last year’s lobby day and have been meeting. I gave them my email too.
One of the topics in the straight allies meeting was coming out as an ally. It made me think about my attitudes. I didn’t tell anyone why I took a day off work today because I didn’t want to deal with their reaction. They know I don’t agree with their homophobia but I don’t speak up everytime they say something horrible because I don’t feel like I’m doing any good there. I certainly didn’t tell my family what I was doing today. That meeting made me think that I might mention it casually in conversation. They can’t think I’m more misguided than they already do.