I once told a friend “I just want employers to get to the point where they have to make stuff up to fire me.”
My wish was realized when our Supreme Court ruled the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender Americans from discrimination in employment. That ruling will profoundly improve our lives, but our work continues.
In Ohio, we can still be legally denied housing, service in restaurants, even healthcare. Representative Bob Cupp and Senator Matt Huffman should vote for the Ohio Fairness Act, to add LGBTQ protections to existing state anti-discrimination laws. The City of Lima should pass similar ordinances for its citizens.
We cannot stop at laws. To make Lima a better place for LGBTQ persons requires good will in addition to law. Just as American Persons of Color continue to struggle against institutional barriers and violence some 55 years after the Civil Rights Act, so too must we fight bigotry that for years pervaded our movies, our schools, our own thoughts.
We must have uncomfortable, honest conversations about how Lima takes care of its LGBTQ citizens.
Businesses who welcome LGBTQ employees and customers should identify as such so we can support them. Service clubs should understand our quest for dignity is not “a political issue” but part of growing our community. Hospitals, now allowed by the Trump Administration to refuse us basic care, should let us know whether they will still treat us.
The ability to work somewhere and build a life there are different things. In this time of change, I hope Lima will show LGBTQ persons they are not just respected by law, but welcomed with open hearts.
Marin Luria Harbur, Lima