My involvement with LGBTQI goes back to 1972. I went to a Catholic High School where the issue of sexual orientation was never discussed. It wasn’t until after High School that several of my friends came out. My wife had a similar experience. Her best friend from High School came out when they moved to Columbus as roommates at OSU. It may be that these experiences helped us to see our friends as people first, who just happened to be LGBTQI.
I would be opposed to any efforts to undermine the rights of same sex couple to marry and I would be open to supporting legislation to strengthen protections for that right. I will speak out publicly and in session in support of these rights. I also support legislation to add sexual orientation to identities protected from discrimination.
Additionally, transgender people deserve the same rights as any other person. The fear mongering about the transgender community must be responded to with education. Protection of individual rights afforded by the law must be extended to transgender individuals where it is currently lacking.
The effects of bullying and discrimination LGBTQI youth include homelessness, poverty and suicide. These are compounded by the lack of positive social message. School bullying is a problem that is best addressed with education and counseling of the offending student. Increased funding for school social services is desperately needed. I would support more programs of outreach to LGBTQI youth to help them see their self-identified orientation as a natural and normal part of who they are. Positive role models, support groups and increased awareness through education can save lives.
Adequate funding of LGBTQI Community Organizations needs to be seen as essential to the success of the LGBTQI people who are in transition in their lives. Community Organizations more than return the investment with reduced strain on health care, police, emergency and other public resources.