Hello, my name is Parker Heinze. I am an openly bisexual man. I live and work at the only place in the city of Manhattan that cannot fire or evict me for the statement I just made. That place is Kansas State, but the list of places where LGBT individuals will be protected expands dramatically on Tuesday.
For those of you who do not know, there is an ordinance going into effect that will protect people from being denied housing, employment and public assistance based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
I realize this may be a bit bias, but I think this is a step forward in many ways. First off, this ordinance protects both sexual and gender minorities. That is to say, transgender people can’t be denied public benefits, and gay people can’t be evicted for bringing someone home from Aggieville.
Originally this ordinance was proposed to protect members of the gay community and was not inclusive to gender identity or expression. The fight the LGBT community went through to include the “T” part shows union and solidarity to a marginalized group within a marginalized group.
In addition, to the human portion of this, the ordinance is a step forward for the economy. I am a capitalist. I believe if you can do the best job for the most reasonable price, you should be able to do that job. No matter if you are straight, gay, black, white or even a monkey on a typewriter. If you do the best job at the best price, why shouldn’t you be able to work? This ordinance puts aside the pettiness of hiring people based on what they do in their off hours.
I don’t like to generalize, but life can be hard for LGBT individuals. Constant pressures to be out to everyone, to be an upstanding member of society, to prove people wrong and not be a ball of depression when people systematically put you down anyway. All of that can make life difficult, but with this ordinance in place, we don’t have to worry about being kicked out of our houses. We can go to work and not worry about whether the boss will fire us because he saw pictures of our wedding on Facebook.
I was talking to my friend the other day about how being part of the LGBT community is unique here in Manhattan. We are in a fairly accepting town, surrounded by a very unaccepting region. With this ordinance, Manhattan’s friendliness to the community will hopefully spread throughout Kansas and encourage the entire state to adopt a similar policy.
So rejoice Manhattan; we are making a great step toward complete equality, and know that the people who helped pass this ordinance will not sleep until the LGBT community is treated completely equal.
Parker Heinze is a junior in psychological sciences.