Stand up to hate by speaking out

Stand up to hate by speaking out

KEVIN TENGESDAL Bismarck Oct 12, 2008

Stand up to hate by speaking out

How can we stand up against hate crimes? How can we make sure that another life is not snuffed out because of fear, misunderstanding, or discrimination? How can greater understanding, recognition, acceptance and/or tolerance be achieved?

One, we can come out. The GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) population should feel safe to be honest with who we are. But also, straight supporters must come out as well. The straight voice must be heard where the GLBT voice is either silenced or ignored. Do not be silent anymore. Show your GLBT friends your support by standing up against those who choose to oppose.

Two, we can vote. We can elect officials who will stand up and be counted in support of legislation regarding hate-crimes, workplace equality, parenting rights, healthcare funding, relationship recognition to name a few. Locally, we can vote for officials who recognize that there is a vital GLBT population here in North Dakota. We can nominate individuals who support equality and are willing to advance GLBT rights and eliminate discrimination.

Three, we can celebrate diversity. Let us not deny another human of being fully who they are. Let us put aside our school-yard taunts or workplace harassment, our using Scripture as a weapon, our better-than-you attitudes – whatever destroys another person’s dignity or devalues their self-worth because they are different from us.

Let us tear down the walls of homophobia, the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuals. Let us destroy the barriers of heterosexism, the placing of heterosexual people or relationships as superior to non-heterosexual ones. Let us strive to understand the person who is different from us and begin to see them as the unique creation God designed them to be.

In doing so, may there never again be another Matthew Shephard destroyed because he was honest with himself. In doing so, may we as well become honest with ourselves. In doing so, may we extend Christ’s compassion, mercy and understanding to another human being and eliminate hate. Come out and be you, and let your true colors show.


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