Sunday, April 28, 2013

Roll Call: South Carolina LGBTQ…Please stand

By Sabrina Samone, Transmuseplanet

After hearing the news that state Rep. James Smith (D-Richland, District 72), is brave enough to be the one to introduce an  LGBT  anti-discrimination bill this coming Tuesday , I immediately thought of the old Diana Ross song, ‘It’s my turn’.  After watching the entire new England states support Marriage equality, California embracing not only marriage equality but rights for Transgender and a host of other states debating similar legislation, I felt, as I’m sure many in S.C. always do, that we’ll never even get the chance to talk about such things here, but this week, it’s our turn.

Yes my fellow Sur Carolinians, we too will be placed on the national spotlight this week, to see if we as a state have progressed enough yet to provide equality to all in this state, finally.  On Tuesday April, 30th, the US State of South Carolina is looking to make discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace illegal, with a bill on the matter to be heard. Federally, Congress is in the process of debating EDNA, currently there are no nationwide US laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace. State by State and in many cases City Ordinances have been debated and or passed in support of ending discrimination against our communities. Unfortunately this week, Washington State seems to be taking the opposite approach. Many states are changing laws and many are not, the American Medical Student Association has a great state by state count of laws pertaining to, partnerships-adoption-non-discrimination laws-hate crime protection and gender change.

South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson said according to Pink News, of the bill:”All hardworking people in our state should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.”  So true, and he is urging LGBT citizens and their allies in South Carolina and beyond to sign up for email action alerts on the SC equality web page.

Why is this so important? Even if you’re the most apathetic citizen who thinks politicians don't listen to you, well they don’t…if you don’t make your voice heard. If only a handful of calls and letters get to our local legislators that will be voting on a bill, affecting our lives for the next decade or two is heard, that will be the amount of LGBT people they think they are representing. Have you ever met a South Carolina resident that thinks Gay-Lesbian-bisexual or Transgender people don’t exist in this state? I have and if you don’t raise your hand at roll call and say I’m here, many will vote against this bill believing it affects no one in this state. Already I’m reading comments on face book by many in the community, “well if it happens”, don’t wait for someone else to tell you whether you have the right to work and have a job, place to live and just basic equality protected under the law. Raise your hand, pick up the phone, call your local representative and say I’m here. It takes all of five min., and you will still have plenty of time to go cruise, party, be ready for your next drag show and hang with the gang, but you will be counted and our state leaders will know we are watching and waiting to see them do the right thing. If all else fails and hopefully not, remember their names and vote against them in the next election. It’s time to be counted, considered and given the respect deserved, as hard working taxpaying citizens of this state. LGBTQ of South Carolina this is your moment at the podium and the nation is watching, because if it could pass in the birth place of discrimination, it can happen anywhere.

Furthermore, if you’re reading this here, I’ve even made it easier for you. You don’t even have to search for who is your local legislator, here is the list, pass this link around. Simply put in your city and zip code and presto, their number. If you happen to be in my district 38 state senate and district 98 House of Representatives they are Sean Bennett (who covers the corners of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester co.) And Christopher J Murphy (who covers most of southern Dorchester), respectively.

In District One, we currently don’t have a United States Representative until May 7th,  with Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, whom Transmuseplanet endorses and who has stated her support for pro-lgbt legislation runs against Mark “the runaway Governor”  Sanford, who has given past examples of his anti-Lgbt stance and continues presently.  He, if he is given another chance, would become the greatest and most out spoken opponent to equality of any kind concerning LGBT people, remember that on May 7th. Currently, that’s not a major issue due to the fact it is being debated on the state level, so your State Senator and State House of Representatives are the ones that need to hear from you this week.

A major hip-hip hooray also needs to go to the state representative, Rep. James Smith, for his bravery in bringing this to light. If you’d like to thank him or send your support…click here.

LGBTQ South Carolinians, it’s really in your hands. The roll call is about to start, the nation is watching, are you here?
Diana Ross's It's my Turn Video: Dedicated to the ones who didn't live to see this day come in South Carolina.

Related TMP articles:

Why Trans* should vote for our own self interest

 The Hypocrisy of Mark Sanford and the Republican South Carolina voter
You’ve shown us who you are, EX-Gov. Sanford, we don’t need another demonstration
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