“I will push back”: Thoughts on Those Who Fight Against Non-Discrimination Policies

As we all know, recently there has been an uptick in the debate on LGBTQ rights and federal and state non-discrimination legislation and policies.

The arguments for adding LGBTQ into non-discrimination legislation and policies are basically:

FOR non-discrimination legislation and policies: It allows for equal protections for LGBTQ identified individuals.

AGAINST non-discrimination legislation and policies: It infringes on expression and practice of faith-based and religious values and principles.

One side wants to ensure that services and opportunities are not taken away because of one’s sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression.

The other side wants to ensure that members of their community are not forced to provide services or support to those who they believe are not inline with their values and principles.

Both are legitimate communities of our society and both have valid basic positions. Both are doing what they believe is best for their communities. But they’re ideal situation clashes with the other.

Now I have no answer to this dilemma. I can see both sides. But I am also on the receiving end of one of these sides, and am strongly biased.

So, my biased and increasingly more frustrated view on those fighting against non-discrimination legislation and policies is this:

If you deny me services because your faith and religion teaches you that my identity is sinful, I could deny you services because my faith and beliefs teach me to believe that intolerance begets intolerance. 

If you dehumanize me because of who I love, I could dehumanize you for your outdated inhumane beliefs.

If you treat me as though I am broken and need to be fixed, I could treat you as though you are delusional and thusly need to be fixed.

If you rally against me because you believe in an ancient man-written document over the physical being who I am in front of you, I could rally against you for being naive and unrealistic.  

If you treat me differently because I am gay, I could treat you as a bigot. 

Now, even though I could do all this, I work each day to do my best not to. I see you, the human being, on the other side. I try to put into practice those values and beliefs that you say you abide by.

I love the line from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention:

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Honestly, the blind faith and hate is what actually makes me feel sorry and have compassion for those individuals who truly believe in gay conversation therapy, who blindly and ignorantly follow texts that are centuries old and irrelevant, who believe that there is something wrong with those who are different, who use hate and fear of others as a weapon to create a world of ignorance and intolerance and who are afraid of what they do not know or understand.

However, over the last few weeks within conversations over race, privilege, rights, etc, I’ve learned that there is only a limit to which I can be tolerant to those who are coming at me hard. I’m learning that there is a point that I have to step into the fight and push back even if I am biased towards my community. The community’s survival depends on it.

I acknowledge that there is a large community of faith-based and religious individuals who whole heartedly believe in equality but as we are learning, we answer and are responsible for our communities we are a part of. I look to those who do understand for the need of such protections to not only support the community but to challenge their fellow faith-based and religious friends and family who believe that there is no need for such protections.

Now, while both sides have stakes in this battle, for the LGBTQ community, it means life or death.

So, let it be known that even if I feel sorry for you I won’t dehumanize you or treat you as a lesser person, however: If you push against me because of who I am, I will push back. 

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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About bdproffer

I am currently the Assistant Manager for the University Activities Board at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, web 2.0, LGBT issues and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer for Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
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