Tonight in Appleton

Tonight, progressives in Appleton faced the possibility that the position of Diversity Coordinator and the Diversity program would be cut or not funded. Also, there was a possibility that the domestic partner benefits for Appleton city employees might not make it through the budget process, too.

But tonight we kept a priority on diversity and equality.

And while I’m pleased – this is the 4th time (?) I’ve testified before Appleton’s Common Council, and I’m sure they’re tired of me by now – it was pretty rough sitting and listening to a bunch of people who don’t know me call me a moral stain and tell me I’m going to hell. It’s not something I haven’t heard before – as a feminist, as a green, as a queer – but there is something particularly painful to me when I hear that kind of rhetoric coming from Christians, and who say those things because they’re Christians.

It makes me wonder if I missed the part about the Good Samaritan asking first if the guy was gay.

I also wonder – when I hear haters stand behind their status as tax payers – if it ever occurs to homophobic types that LGBTQ people pay taxes too, and into a government that doesn’t treat them as equals. I wonder how well that would sit with people who don’t understand but who – for other reasons – are of a more libertarian stripe.

I pointed that latter piece out tonight, because I think that’s at least some of who I’m talking to here in Appleton.

But “moral stain” I really can’t get past. There’s something so dehumanizing and miserable about that one.

My other bit of wonder is how it is that people who think homosexuality is immoral – and they’re free to think it is – somehow think that justifies treating LGBTQ people as less than citizens. I mean, it’s not like queers have the corner on immorality, right? So do we stop paying health insurance for the partner of a man who commits adultery? I mean, which sins count, exactly, when it comes to citizenship? Which morality matters?

Eh, the whole process makes me sad, but I’m thankful for the other progressives who came tonight, and other nights, to speak truth to power. I’m thankful to all the common council members who are still there, at midnight, wrestling with a budget for this city I live in. I feel thankful that I’ve been given at least some skills to fight for justice.