Gayle's testimony: The Catch-22 of discrimination

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Night after night we are lumped together with murderers, drug addicts, liars, thieves and prostitutes, and told we will be judged like them. We have to sit here and listen to bias because we must wait our turn to testify. This in itself is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. We wait our turn because we believe our civil rights need to be guaranteed with this amendment.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are largely an invisible minority. Many who have read scripture have said that they know people who are gay and lesbian and are invisibly patting themselves on the back for being nice to a gay person and for their "conditional" love. What they do not see is that they interact with us every day. We are your bankers, teachers, doctors, bus drivers, stylists, students, social workers, artists and sales people. The next time a stranger smiles or says "hi" on the street, or your life is made easier by someone doing a good job, ask yourself "Could they be gay?" How many times have you asked a nice young man if he "had a girlfriend?" If so, your hetero is showing. Instead, how about saying, "Is there anyone special in your life?" We live, eat, play, pray, and work invisibly; and we choose to reveal ourselves only to those we trust because rejection is painful.

You have asked for specific instances of discrimination, but that in itself is a Catch-22. Because there are no protections for GLBT people as a class, there are no agencies that can take their complaints of discrimination. Because there are no cases on file, it then follows that discrimination does not exist. That is the circuitous logic of Catch-22. The claim that these are "special rights" shows the degree to which GLBT people are seen as "so out of the ordinary" that their claim to ordinary rights seems special. Last assembly meeting, you believed Chief Huen when he said that his department needed the 12 hour posting for homeless camps as a tool for his department to use. Believe me when I say we need this amended ordinance as a tool for the protection of our civil rights.

You cannot appease those that oppose this ordinance with rewrites and exemptions. Therefore, I propose that you write the amended ordinance with language that protects the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community. And then vote "yes" to pass it.

And by the way, the woman who testified ahead of me (yesterday's post), in a week and a half we will celebrate our 32nd anniversary.

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