Gay teenagers and young adults are known to suffer higher rates of depression and suicide than straight people, and a major cause of this is social opprobrium, not to mention outright bullying and harassment. High schools are hotspots of discrimination against kids who are "different". There are also studies that show that 46% of transgender men and 42% of transgender women attempt suicide in their lifetime. It's absolutely heartbreaking in addition to being unacceptable, yet it's completely preventable if society can only accept people of different identities and orientations openly, without a hint of discrimination.
"When gay rights are under attack,
What do we do?" "Stand up, fight back!"
"ACL, don't you dare!"
"Safe schools everywhere!"
"We're fabulous! Don't f*ck with us!"
I signed a petition, and struck up a conversation with one of the young people there. I couldn't tell their gender, and I noticed that they had a lot of facial piercing. I'm a square on the outside, but shockingly liberal on the inside, so we had a nice conversation. At one point, this person tried to pass me a pamphlet on socialism, and I declined with a laugh. I told them that I had been a socialist sympathiser as a student more than 30 years ago, and had moved left and right like a pendulum more times than I could remember.
Every time a new set of well-dressed people made their way up the stairs to enter the church, the protesters would start chanting, "Shame, bigots, shame!" One man shouted at the churchgoers, "Jesus would be ashamed of you!" I couldn't help thinking that if Jesus was a real person and everything he was cracked up to be, he was more likely to be out on the street with the protesters than with the decently dressed people inside the church.
I'm straight, I'm cisgendered, and I'm part of the older generation. But I support marriage equality (cheers from the audience), and I'm here to stand up against homophobia (more cheers). I support the Safe Schools program, because it helps the most vulnerable members of our society - children and young people struggling with questions about their identity. I think they deserve all the support they can get at this time, and they absolutely don't need to be made targets of bigotry and hatred, such as what the ACL is engaged in. I just wanted to show my support. Thank you.
I was happy I had stood up and said that, and it felt like a big weight off my chest. I'm tired of watching impotently as self-styled moral guardians do the most immoral things and get away with it with the help of powerful politicians.