Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an Episcopal priest, a Methodist minister and a bunch of Quakers have a meeting with Equality Texas…
No really… yesterday Equality Texas set down with a group of people in Kerrville, TX to talk about what can be done in their area to work towards equality. The Quakers had initially reached out to us and invited the local PFLAG chapter (which included the aforementioned clergy) to attend.
We talked about what was going in the community:
- The PFLAG chapter is getting ready to show the documentary Stonewall Uprising,
- everyone was excited that the Episcopal Church of America voted to bless same-sex unions,
- someone’s been ripping down the PFLAG fliers at a local café, but the owner has no issue with them being up.
We talked about the Quaker group’s recent process of deciding to publically support “unconditional inclusion and equality for all people within God’s community.” A decision they reached after prayerfully considering their own religious heritage and traditions.
But mostly we talked about relationships. One woman told the group of her “coming out” process as the mom of a gay man, that when she became comfortable enough to talk about it at church she was suddenly approached by other people who had had similar experiences.
I told the group about our 2010 Equality Poll, and that the majority of Texans actually agree with them on issues like same-sex parent adoption, employment nondiscrimination and the need to protect LGBT children in schools. After a moment of incredulity the group started to recognize that, yes, it’s likely that most of their neighbors probably did agree with them.
And we talked about the importance of relationships with elected officials. I told them that one of our biggest challenges in Austin is that some elected officials just aren’t comfortable discussing LGBT issues. We talked about the solution to this problem: the need for local people like them to make their elected officials more comfortable by consistently opening the dialogue and highlighting all the things happening in their community.
- So the PFLAG chapter is going to invite their State Representative and Senator to the film showing, (they may say “no,” but at least they’ll both know that the event happened),
- the Quakers are going to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about their decision to support equality,
- and the whole group is going to think about local organizations and individuals that they can ask their reps to recognize with a congratulatory resolution.
That’s how we’re going to bring equality to Kerrville, one phone call, one handshake, one conversation at a time. It’s a lot harder for elected officials to vote for anti-equality legislation when they know it will hurt the folks back home, but they have to know the folks back home will be hurt in order for that to work. In Kerrville that’s starting to happen.
How about you? What’s happening in your hometown? Would you like to invite Equality Texas to come talk to your organization or community? Give Daniel a call at 512-569-8202 or firstname.lastname@example.org