There is great truth in the old saying “strength in numbers.” Thanks to many factors, finally, the fight for LGBT civil rights has reached the Midwest. Attention has shifted from the East and West Coasts to the Heartland.
In the past, many GLBT people moved from wherever they were to one of the more liberal Coast areas. Conversely, many of the right-wing homophobic conservatives moved to somewhere in the Midwest, where it was easier to impose their particular religious beliefs, which includes discrimination against LGBT people.
But thanks to the growing number of vocal LGBT people and their non-gay friends and relatives, homophobes are finally being confronted. Three major Missouri cities currently have non-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation, Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis. Two also include gender identity, Columbia and Kansas City. Meanwhile, efforts to include orientation and gender identity continue in Springfield.
Most parents want the best for their children. Once they understand that a non-discrimination law protects their gay or lesbian child, they can pressure their legislators or join groups that provide pressure. It is one of the perks of being out to parents who still talk to you.
If only one family member of each gay person joined in the fight, that doubles the numbers. Add in perhaps another parent, aunts, uncles and so forth, the numbers can soar. Thankfully, here in Missouri there is an increased presence of Parents Families, Friends and Allies of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG) which was established as a parent support group in the early 1970s. You can find out more about the national organization at http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2 . There is also a section showing where chapters are located through out the country and Missouri.
A tough battle is ahead. There will be lies and terrible words from those who hate.
But with the help of PFLAG and other organizations, we will persist.
We will win.