Thursday, February 03, 2011

Guest blogger: I am not "an abomination." I am Wyoming.

This "Letter to the Community" was written by Cheyenne's Troy Rumpf and posted on Facebook. It appeared in this morning's Wyoming Tribune-Eagle under the headline "Legislative actions against gays are 'simple bigotry.' " It's poignant and angry and exceedingly well-written. That's no surprise. Troy is a multi-talented actor, director, writer and PIO. He is also a great human being. I asked -- and he gave permission -- for me to reprint his letter. So here's Troy's guest blog:
I am not “dry rot.” I am not “incapable of making policy decisions.” I am not “an abomination.”

Who I am is a tax-paying professional, a guy who grew up in Wyoming, a man who has spent years volunteering for social agencies and serving on boards to help improve our community and our state, someone who has been in a monogamous relationship for 15 years, a person who happens to be born gay.

Let me begin by saying how grateful I am to the many in our Legislature who continue to take the time – regardless of party – to consider issues thoughtfully and vote against discrimination and hate.

The absolute vitriol from many other legislators and the horrific lies told by some of their supporters are shocking in their ignorance, and simultaneously not terribly unexpected. I question whether many of these people took the time to research the issues with legitimate sources, to talk with people in the gay community, to get a real feel for the impact of these decisions outside the confines of their own comfort zone.

It seems so hypocritical to hear regular usage of the phrases “this is the Equality State” or “Republicans are in favor of less government.” These words are empty and meaningless to those that are anti-gay, unless they want to use them for their own self interests.

This isn’t about homophobia – it’s not as if these people are afraid of those who are gay. Let’s call it what it is: it’s discrimination; it’s about hating a group of people in the community; it’s simple bigotry.

Believe it or not, there are gay people in all walks of life in Wyoming, impacting you in numerous positive ways. They are legislators, chefs, executives, nurses, politicians, librarians, truck drivers, doctors, teachers, construction workers, lawyers, administrators, and more. Many of them you probably don’t even know are gay, and you would never think of trying to hurt them when you know them directly. It seems that people only find their hatred when they deal with “gay people” as an abstract idea.

Gay people are not a stereotype, and it’s the stereotype that scares the bigots. We need to change this way of thinking, and you can see that younger generations are even more willing to understand the folly of discrimination. We can and must work together – straight and gay alike – to find true equality for the citizens of our great state.

We are individuals. We are people with much to contribute to society. We are Wyoming.

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