Post submitted by Lane Galbraith, Galbraith Advocacy & Activism
As a transgender man in Alabama, I have watched in shock as more and more people across the Yellowhammer State openly discuss the transgender community.
Political leaders, such as Mobile County Alabama Commissioner Jerry Carl, have called transgender Alabamians “street freaks.” In April, suspended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore continually transgender people “mentally ill” at a press conference. These leaders cultivate uneducated fear, failing to protect those they were elected to serve.
However, it is clear that these leaders are on the wrong side of history. While seven anti-LGBT bills were introduced in Alabama, not a single one passed the state legislature this year. Additionally, the Oxford, Alabama, City Council voted 3-2 to repeal a discriminatory new ordinance that would have prevented transgender residents and visitors from using public restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity.
While these bills could have harmed the trans community, it is time that political leaders, like those in Oxford, recognize the misinformation and harm they can do by passing these bills into law. It is time they promote tolerance, inclusion and diversity as it relates to transgender people.
As a Christian, I have heard many people speak against the rights of transgender people through their interpretations of the Bible. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know that Christ would not harm or turn away people. He went to those who were hurting and encouraged love and hope.
Political leaders who claim to be acting from Christian-motivated perspectives need to pay attention to the greatest commandment, to “love your neighbor.” I know that through engagement with transgender people and LGBT advocates across the state, our political leaders can truly educate themselves on the lives of all of their constituents and bring people together despite their differences.
While the legislature did not pass any anti-LGBT legislation this year, I am proud to work with HRC to achieve full equality and advocate for statewide non-discrimination protections. Hate and fear only hurt the progress of who we are as a community. Together we can make a difference, making sure all citizens have equal protections under the law and are given the same opportunity to reach their God-given potential.
To learn more about HRC’s work on transgender equality visit hrc.org/transgender.
In 2014, HRC launched Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. HRC Alabama continues to work to advance equality for LGBT Alabamians who have no statewide protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; and legal state recognition for their relationships and families. Through HRC Alabama, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.
Author Lane Galbraith, Galbraith Advocacy & Activism