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Let Us Stand As One: Demanding Human Rights for All

By Kari Ann Rinker
Advocacy | July 11, 2011

WICHITA, Kan. - A couple of weeks ago asked to speak at The Kansas Equality Coalition's (KEC) Gay Pride Rally in Wichita. To quote my friend Thomas Witt, "There are too many LGBTQ Kansans who are against a woman's right to choose." Lt. Dan Choi was in attendance, as was Dr. Mila Means. These two profiles in courage stood side by side in open support of each others causes.

Kansas NOW and KEC have worked together on many issues involving equal rights. While I understand that every person has their own unique mixture of beliefs, regardless of gender or their sexual identity, I personally struggle for acceptance for the anti-choice gay viewpoint. We are fighting the same political demons, after all.

There may be a few legislators who "split their votes" between these causes, voting in support of gay rights, but not in support of women's reproductive rights. For the most part, however, both groups are thrown into the same pot of evil stew by the radical wing of the GOP. They are boiling us up, adding some salt and a little pepper and will chew us up with in the same bite, if given the opportunity.

Here is the text of my speech from the Wichita Pride Rally. Enjoy it with some crackers or a nice loaf of bread...

When my friend, Tom Witt asked me to speak here today, I jumped at the opportunity. I jumped, because I recognize how important it continues to be for the gay rights movement and women's rights movement to stay strong and work together...side by side...fighting the onslaught of the fascist right wing agenda within our state. I jumped because I am honored to have my feminist friend Lt. Dan Choi join the ranks of the Kansas resistance against Governor Sam Brownback and his destructive draconian policies that are intent upon criminalizing our right to be who we are and love who we love.

Kansas NOW remains committed to winning Lesbian Rights within the state of Kansas. It is but one part of our civil rights mission. NOW recognizes that a woman's right to her own person includes the right to define and express her own sexuality. This is not a new sentiment, this was declared by NOW in 1971. We have stood with the gay rights movement for many, many years. Kansas NOW strongly opposed the Constitutional amendment against gay marriage within our state. I personally went door to door advocating against it, meeting the opposition face to face, never wavering in my support of FULL LGBT equality.

Now, I will tell you about another part of Kansas NOW's mission. A part that is under rabid, unrelenting and unethical attacks from our Governor and his conservative GOP allies. The part or our mission I refer to is complete, unequivocal support of reproductive rights and healthcare access for the women of Kansas. I know this is a gay pride rally, but this issue does affect you. Gay or straight, black, white, Latino, Asian, male, female or transgender...you must take heed.

I recently attended a civil rights symposium in Kansas City and listened to Sheriff Dave O'Malley from Laramie, Wyoming. He talked about the hate crime that was the murder of Matthew Sheppard. I sat next to my dear friend Tom Witt as Sheriff O'Malley spoke. Listening to the Sheriff, I became emotional and I shed a few tears. I shed those tears because no one should be treated less than human and abused for who they are. No one should be controlled or condemned through violence or through legislation.

Governor Brownback wants to control gays and he want to control women. He chooses to use his power of Governor of the State of Kansas as his weapon against them both. We cannot sit by while he smacks the women of Kansas around with piece after piece of harmful anti- choice legislation. This IS your fight, we are your sisters, we are your mothers, we are your friends.

When our Governor goes to "pray" in Texas with Governor Perry, he will be "praying" for all of us "sinners". He regards us with the same disdain. He is an equal opportunity misogynist and homophobe. We stand with our LGBT allies without judgment, please do us the same courtesy with our rights and freedom of choice. Let us all stand as one. Kansans united, Kansans for choice, Kansans for freedom and equality for all.

1 Comment

Some people are discovering that vocal opposition to LGBT* rights is an increasingly toxic stance to moderate folk, more reliably so than abortion rights. Some religions have made the same leap -- the religious case against abortion is generally stronger (abortion kills little people) than the religious case against LGBT rights (gays are naughty because, uh, well, God is just really hung up on sex). It's a question of framing, too; LBGT rights opponents are often called "bashers," "haters," "homophobes," and so forth; abortion opponents are still primarily called "pro-life," despite both groups habitually encouraging out-and-out murder. The anti-LGBT movement is desperately trying to re-frame itself using terms like "family" and "religious freedom," even though they actively oppose those notions (for gays). They're just different terms for the same thing, but unfortunately, "pro-family" is a tough sell as a slur, and as it gets wider usage, it softens the impact of being a flaming bigot during election season. Anyway, I agree that the two movements are quite natural partners, but neither advocacy necessarily implies the other.

I could point out a similar case of cross purposes, after all. As an atheist, I think that LGBT folks should abandon at least the Abrahamic religions -- Christianity and Islam in particular. The pseudo-moral babble of those religions has been the cornerstone of homosexual persecution in the modern era, and as long as their core books are commonly believed to hold unassailable Truth, some people will be able to point at the same old verses to justify the same old violence and hate. In spite of all this, I understand that not everyone is ready to be an atheist. It's a big leap for anyone who was raised religious -- I know. Still, I'm happy to make common cause as a straight atheist male with people who want to do good things on the human rights front, even if they don't directly benefit me and mine. If nothing else, one day we atheists are sure to need focused support of our own. As such, I stand up when the Morality brigade attacks the abortions I'll never have and the marriages I'll never be a party to.

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