Help Us End Legal Discrimination in Anchorage

by Tiffany McClain of Equality Works

At Tuesday's meeting of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly, Acting Mayor Matt Claman introduced an ordinance that will protect Anchorage's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, financial services, and Municipal business. 

The Anchorage Municipal Assembly voted to hold a public hearing on June 9 and we need YOU to be there to show Assembly members that people in our town care about this issue. 

There are plenty of things you can do TODAY to support this ordinance:


1) E-mail or Write to your Assembly Members


Our Assembly Members need to know where we stand. They will likely be bombarded with letters from those who believe that LGBT people should not be protected from discrimination, and it is important that we make our voices heard. By letting them know why you believe Equality Works, you are moving them one step closer to a vote to support equality. If you don't know who your Assembly member is, this map should help you. Once you've found your Assembly person, find their contact information here. If you live in a district with two Assembly members, please send a copy to them both.


Suggestions for increasing your effectiveness:


-- Be respectful. We believe that it is possible to passionately express your opinion without disrespecting elected officials or other people in our community who may disagree with you.


-- Personalize it. When it comes to LGBT equality, it is true that the "personal is political." There are countless examples of elected officials being moved to support our cause after having an opportunity to read the letters or even to speak one-on-one with people who are personally affected by discrimination.


-- Be Clear. Tell them exactly how you want them to vote on this ordinance—Vote "Yes!"


-- Use the Talking Points. If you're at loss for what to say or just need a jumping off point, we encourage you to focus on our talking points. 1) Anchorage workers deserve to be judged solely on their qualifications and the merits of their work. 2) All Alaskans deserve protection from discrimination and harassment. 3) No Alaskan should have to deny who they are in order to keep a job or an apartment. Go here for more details.


-- Be Brief. The most effective letters are no longer than one page.


2) Share Your Story


"Discrimination? There is no discrimination in this town!" At least, that is what some objectors are saying to defeat this ordinance. It is very possible that the decision to support or oppose this ordinance will come down to whether or not Assembly members believe that they are improving peoples' lives by supporting it.


Are you an LGBT person who believes that you have been discriminated against by an employer, landlord, or business? Have you ever been told to stay closeted on the job? Are you a straight ally or family member who has felt the sting of public harassment or discrimination because of your friends or relatives, or because you were perceived as being "too masculine" or "too feminine"?


These are all examples of discrimination that could be addressed by the Equal Rights Commission if this ordinance is passed. There is no better time than at the public hearing on June 9 to share these stories with the people in a position to make a difference. If you would like to participate, please e-mail me today or call 907-258-0044 ext. 101.


3) Tell People


You will be surprised by the number of people who believe that LGBT people are already protected from discrimination by state or federal law. In many cases, they are supporters of equality who simply aren't aware that it is completely legal to discriminate in Alaska. Make sure your friends and family members know the facts, and bring them with you to the public hearing on June 9. Also, link this post on your social networking pages and forward this post to two friends—NOW is the time to expand our support.


Remember, Equality Works!

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