Friday, May 23, 2014

A great step towards equality in Michigan!

Every day amazing people everywhere are making their voices heard in support of equality. I want to share about someone in Sterling Heights, MI who I recently heard from.

I am approaching the third anniversary of The Gay Vegans blog and am as excited and committed as ever to keep this blog as a part of a community that speaks out for the voiceless, works for equality, and believes that we all have more in common than not.

I still feel new to the blogging world. I still feel full of wonder. Every day I seem to learn more about blogging and websites. It's an incredible path for sure.

Since the very start I have been blown away by the support from readers that I get. The love. The compassion. The conversation about topics important to us. It's always great to know that not only is someone reading my post, but they they took action because of it, shared it, or began to think about something that they had previously not thought about.

This week I received an email from someone who read one of my posts. It was a post I had written when a US federal judge had ruled that Michigan's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Having grown up in Michigan I was ecstatic.

A city council member, actually the Mayor Pro Tem, of Sterling Heights, a city I had lived in for several years, wrote to me about the post. Mike Taylor had read my post and wanted to connect about an action he was taking:

"It was very frustrating for me to hear you recount such painful memories from Michigan and Sterling Heights. I'm sure you're not alone. I'm hoping I can do something to help people here who feel the way you did. To that end, at our latest council meeting (Tuesday May 20) I asked the administration to prepare a non-discrimination ordinance that will protect everyone in Sterling Heights from discrimination on the basis of orientation and gender identity. Currently in Michigan, there is no protection against discriminating against someone in employment, housing, or in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

He hopes to report that next  month this will pass, making Sterling Heights the 34th city in Michigan to have such an ordinance.

Glory be.

Thank you Mike Taylor. 

I will admit, with no surprise for our readers, that this made me quite emotional. It's difficult not to get tears in my eyes while writing this post. I am 48 years old yet clearly remember a different time in my life when I was filled with self-hatred, fear and shame. This was the young man who lived in Sterling Heights. Now this same man gets to see an equality ordinance passed in that same city.

I am incredibly grateful to Mayor Pro Tem Taylor and will keep you all posted on the ordinance.

Will the ordinance make a difference? Of course. In a state like Michigan where there are no legal protections against discrimination of those in the LGBTQ community, this will be a powerful force. Where I think it will make an even bigger difference is amongst the young people in Sterling Heights, maybe some who are living like I did. Now they hear that those in power in their city support them. Perhaps there will be less self-hatred, less hate, less bullying and even fewer young people thinking that death is better than being themselves. We just never know the power of such an ordinance.

I will keep writing posts that I hope are engaging, eye opening and helpful to everyone who reads them. I will keep writing posts that ask those who read them to take actions that will make the world a better place for all living beings.

I would be grateful if you shared this post with friends and family who might live in Sterling Heights. It's always nice to support those who support equality. 

Thank you for reading.

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