Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Inclusion... by Rory Andes

I finally had a chance this morning to sit down with my cup of coffee and this month's The Atlantic magazine. Breezing through the highlights, I landed on a brilliant article by Jonathan Rauch titled "Don't Call Me LGBTQ: Why we need a single overarching designation for sexual minorities". I am an ally and my process of learning about the LGBTQ community comes from my friends in the community as it stands behind these walls. It has many of the same issues here as it has in the free world, with a few expected exceptions.

As I read this article, Rauch opened my eyes to something pretty fundamental... the individual sexual minority. He wrote about Frank Kameny (Google him) and the fight for gay rights. Frank would become the nation's first openly gay congressional candidate and in 1961, he filed a petition with the US Supreme Court challenging the federal government's ban on employment of homosexuals. An activist for a group of individuals simply known as "gay". In his article, Rauch brings up a good point... if letters keep being added to LGBTQ (such as LGBTTIQQ2SA or LGBTQIAA+) it makes the community coalition and specific.

However someone, some ONE, will then be missed and thus EX-cluded. Much like other activists for civil rights equality such as Martin Luther King Jr., Kameny wanted an equal footing. EQUAL, not special. MLK wanted equality for all descendants of African heritage born in any part of the world who find oppression in America. I believe Rauch hit the nail on the head with his perspective of recognizing the individual talents of all sexual minorities by eliminating the "alphabet soup" as he put it and stop the over specification.

Bringing everyone to the mountain top together through their individuality and talents, and not through terminology that has now been weaponized by identity politics, is a shining example of fair and equitable recognition. I may be a single, white, heterosexual, conservative, Republican, optimistic, middle-aged male... but outside of these labels, I simply want to be your supporter. An asset to my friends.

Rory Andes
for www.lgbtqprisonsupport.com

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