The simplicity of the action can mean so much to someone. Whether they’re accepted into college or accepted in society for who they are. Acceptance is all people want, especially those in the LGBTQ community. Regardless of who they choose to love, at the end of the day, they are still human.
Students from the Gay-Straight Alliance Club at Lee Williams High School took their voices to the City of Kingman to adopt a city ordinance of Diversity and Civil Rights where members of the LGBTQ community are protected.
David Rice, a science teacher and GSA club sponsor, told City Council on Dec. 4 that currently there is no federal or state laws to protect LGBTQ members.
“We come before you this evening simply as citizens of Kingman asking you, the newly-elected Council, to amend the civil ordinance of the City of Kingman to include such protections for LGBTQ individuals,” Rice said.
Rice said he wants Kingman to understand that Council is being asked to do what it can to address discrimination in the community. Without the protections from the state and federal governments, those who are concerned about the LGBTQ issues want the City to protect LGBTQ people.
Students from the GSA club have expressed their concerns to why they would like this ordinance in their hometown. The main reason they brought up is job security because being of a different sexual orientation doesn’t affect their workplace abilities.
“Being gay doesn’t really affect how you pick up a box,” said Loop Swats, a LWHS student.
Students also said it’s not fair to be discriminated against in the workplace or fired for their sexual orientation, and having their civil rights taken from them.
“It’s 2018. There’s states out there that don’t have anti-discrimination laws against people of different gender or sexual orientation. It’s extremely disappointing,” Jordan Doughton said.
Students said it’s scary to know that they could be fired from a job just due to being of a different sexual orientation.
Students in the Lee Williams GSA club said feeling safe in Kingman depends on who they are around, and they do feel out of harm’s way for the most part at LWHS.
“I feel safe relatively with the people I’m around but there have been times when I instantly regret stating I’m bisexual because of the reaction people have,” Doughton said.
Teenagers often say harmful things to one another. GSA students have heard homophobic jokes and slurs.
“I still hear homophobic slurs and jokes thrown around more than what I’d like to hear,” Doughton said.
A survey was conducted at the school regarding the LGBTQ community. The survey asked students if teachers or students step in during incidents where homophobic slurs were said and most of the answers were “yes.”
Students would like to tell the Kingman community the world is changing.
“The world is growing and I think we should be growing with it by having these anti-discriminatory laws because it’s not fair to be discriminated against,” Travis Masseth said. “A lot of the world is beginning to see that and I think a lot of people here see that.”
Students want more acceptance so they don’t have to be terrified their sexual orientation is known to those around them. At the end of the day, they want people to know whoever is providing a service to them at a place business, their sexual orientation doesn’t affect the work they provide.
According to The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff, Sedona, Chandler and Tucson have protections to make it illegal to fire someone from a job, deny them housing, or refuse a service if they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
“Our children are entering a world where they can be terminated from employment or kicked out of their housing based simply on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Rice said. “For their sake, and the sake of many others, it is incumbent on us adults to create and maintain a world that promotes fairness and equality.”
More like this story
- Letter | There already are workplace protections
- Appeals Court: Business can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation
- Lawmaker: Senate sex harassment policy doesn’t go far enough
- Activists bring equality message to cities across Arizona
- Law firm: Businesses have constitutional right to refuse to sell to LGBT people