Hickey: On the side of Toledo LGBTQA prideWritten by Emily Hickey | | email@example.com
Anti-gay protests outside military funerals, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allies (LGBTQA) teens committing suicide after being bullied, the perspective of a child being raised by two moms … these are just some of the national headlines that rip through newspapers from day to day, but how much does our entire community really know about being gay in America? How much does our community really know about being gay in Toledo?
Toledo?s LGBTQA community is one of great diversity. We cross every economic, racial, religious, ethnic and gender line. We are lawyers, we are grandparents, we write newspaper columns, we serve our country, we patrol your streets and while these headlines may not directly affect us, they do indirectly shape our futures as a community, as employees, and as human beings.
Having pride for the gay community is a feeling of unwavering advocacy and, through this regular Toledo Free Press Star column, I hope to provide a strong sense of that pride by trying to open the minds and change the perspectives of our opposition and educate and inspire our straight allies as well as the entire Toledo LGBTQA community.
I write this column for all the members of the LGBTQA community who feel they do not have a voice. I write this column to bring awareness to the issues that truly affect our city, from LGBTQA youth becoming homeless just because they came out to LGBTQA seniors going back into the closet, out in fear of being mistreated in nursing homes. Those are the headlines behind the scenes and while most would believe that in 2011 we wouldn’t be at such a place, the truth is we are and now is the time to address those issues and many more.
It’s time to conquer the fear of forever being closeted due to our sexual orientation because, in the end, that does not define us as human beings. It does not define me as a human being. I am a young woman who comes from a spectacular family. I have an outstanding career and work with amazing people. I graduated from the University of Toledo. I would like to have a wife and children one day. I have found a new love for gardening. I am proud to live in Toledo and while my sexual orientation does not shape everything about me, it does hold me back from everything I want to accomplish.
Believe it or not, I can be fired from my job just for being gay, which means I can?t continue building my strong career. Believe it or not, it is illegal for me to have a wife because the state of Ohio declared? marriage is only between a man and a woman. Believe it or not, any children I have with my partner can be taken away from her if I die, just because she can?t legally adopt them.
Believe it or not, it is 2011 and those in our LGBTQA community still do not have their most basic rights. In the end, we are all just human beings fighting for our basic right to love, be open about that love and have that love and all it creates recognized.
With that being said, I am very aware that this column may also draw some strong opposition, but know that I am one that holds great respect for the opinions of others so long as I am shown the same respect in return. Regardless of any opposition, I am so proud to be on the side of Toledo LGBTQA pride.
Emily Hickey is a strong advocate for the LGBTQA community through her work with Toledo Pride and Outskirts Toledo. For more information or to contact Emily, visit www.toledopride.com or Outskirts Toledo on Facebook.