I am proud to say that there is a town in my state that was willing to stand out in this Christian, Republican stronghold and take a stand for the protection of minorities. While protecting people and providing them with equal rights shouldn’t be divisive, there are still way too many people in Oklahoma that are willing to do everything in their power to make life as torturous as possible for the people that they don’t like.
And one of the groups of people that they don’t like are members of the LGBT community.
The city council in Norman, Oklahoma has taken a stand to provide the members of the LGBT community with the protections that are still desperately needed in many parts of Oklahoma.
One of our local TV stations, News 9, reported the following:
Norman is now the first city in the state to pass inclusive protections for the LGBT community.
Supporters called Tuesday’s vote historic.
“It should have been done a long time ago,” said Troy Stevenson, Freedom Oklahoma director.
They’re inclusive protections that are intended to match those already in place for minority communities.
Stevenson said this has been an ongoing fight for years.
“This is actually one of the most important fights that’s going on in the state of Oklahoma,” Stevenson said.
Norman, Oklahoma is one of the college towns in Oklahoma. Being a college town, there is naturally a more diverse and well educated population that makes it easier to pass legislation for minorities than in many of the other municipalities around the state. But even these little progressive havens around the state can demonstrate the need for such legislation.
It was in the same city in 2010 that the dialog was so toxic that it contributed to the suicide of a young gay man.
Here is a reminder of that time frame as reported by Queerty. I wouldn’t recommend following the link unless you are ready to experience flashbacks to the times when people were more prepared to wear their hate on their sleeves.
Zach Harrington, a 19-year-old in Norman, Oklahoma, attended a City Council meeting Sept. 28 where council members were asked to simply recognize October at LGBT History Month in the city. In a 7-1 vote, the council approved the resolution — but not before three hours of incensed debate back and forth between members of the public during an open comment period. It was this “toxic” exchange among neighbors, railing against the recognition of queers’ contributions to society, that led Zach to take his own life a week later, his family says.
Since Norman is the first town in Oklahoma to approve protections for the LGBT community, we still have an enormously long way to go to reach equality. Still, it is nice to see that we are making progress even in the reddest of states.