© Kristen Becker.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
If you follow my career at all, you have been subjected to months’ worth of posts about equal rights. A lot of them have been LGBTQ-based. Most of you know by now that I am in Louisiana, where I was raised, to help with the fight for equality here. Specifically, raising awareness for the Louisiana Non Discrimination Bill that will be put forth before the LA State Senate tomorrow. I will be in Baton Rouge to testify on its behalf. Everyone I have spoken to has said this bill has no chance. What do I say to that? How do I prepare? I have been told that if I wear a tie, I will be written off as a dyke immediately. I thought about that. If I don’t wear a tie, I will be writing myself off. That is a far more offensive thing in my mind. Changing anything about me to win their affection, while strategic, is counterproductive in the long run. Besides, I’m damn charming in a tie.
If the leaders of a state think a tie changes the value of my words, then they have no business being elected. That is high school level logic, not the intelligence level I want in my leaders. It is childish, at best. Let’s be honest. It’s not even about wearing a tie, per se. Feminine women wear ties all the time. Sometimes they wear their husband’s ties and white button-down shirts and nothing else. And it is hot.
It is how I wear a tie that is offensive to some. I’m comfortable in it, and if I am comfortable in my skin and don’t resonate the insecurity the South tried to breed in me my whole life, then they have failed. By facing them myself, not asking a straight person to speak on my behalf. To “sponsor” my existence as it were, I challenge their belief that they are better than I am. Some don’t even realize this is what they believe. But they must. They have spent years actively trying to prevent people from living healthy, productive lives.
Since I have been in the South, I have met police officers who live to protect the very people who refuse to offer the same in return. Ditto for firefighters. Louisiana lawmakers say it is just fine for someone to be refused an apartment or a job based on assumed homosexuality. I say assumed, because when I go to rent an apartment, I don’t usually do it with one hand in a lady to show my gayness, so how would they know? Can they not rent me an apartment because I am wearing a tie? You can’t discriminate against people of color or people with children when renting an apartment. But if a lady’s work uniform makes her look manly, that is enough reason to squelch the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness this country was founded on? Do you know how gay straight women look in police uniforms?
What Louisiana lawmakers say to their civil service employees: “Offer to lay down your life to protect my family, but I will not raise a pen to protect yours.”
The Louisiana Senate has an opportunity to be real leaders tomorrow. To stand up for the citizens of their state. To stop the economic burden that discriminatory practices put on businesses trying to stay competitive in this new economy. Most importantly, to show those who have chosen to serve and protect the rest of us that we appreciate it.
Call your La Senator. Find the info here. Tell them to support the Louisiana Non Discrimination Act.
Text prepared by:
- Bruce R. Magee
Becker, Kristen. “Will You Serve Those Who Protect?” Kristen Becker. 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2015. <http:// kristen becker.com/ 2014/05/19/ say-one-listening/>. © Kristen Becker. Used by permission. All rights reserved.