Here I am, Can You Dig It?

by dharmagrrl

THIS JUST IN: In England, Brighton to be more specific, if you play music that promotes violence against gays or lesbians in your club or pub, you will be shut down, according to a licensing proposal announced today.

Now this is a fine example of how laws speak to the values of a society. Brighton cares about it’s gay and lesbian population. They are willing to enact a law that bans homophobic music because of their desire to see a community not tainted by discrimination and violence against any group of people. As reported in Pinknews.co.uk, Councillor Dee Simson, head of licensing, told The Argus: “In Brighton and Hove we have a good record on equalities and we felt is was important to include this licensing policy. We do not want music that incites racial or homophobic hatred.”

So what to do Missoula…what to do? What do we want our own policies and laws to reflect. It is essential that we as a community take a stand, that we speak up against violence in all it’s forms and that we begin to enact laws that reflect our “Missoula values” (to quote Mayor Engen from the speech he gave at the November 26 rally against recent anti-gay hate crimes).

Missoula is a great place to be gay, there are many wonderful straight allies here and yet, we are plagued by anti-gay violence of all kinds. Just last year over the holidays, there was a truck on the Northside that was spray painted with an anti-gay epithet. This is simply unacceptable, yet it has become the norm, not the exception.

Currently our laws exclude LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members from protections against employment discrimination, rights to adopt, the right to marry and the 1000’s of rights afforded to married heterosexual couples. How do we allow this to continue? Are we really going to allow the religious right and garden variety ignorance decide what is fair in our communities? Does Brittany Spears’ less than twenty-four-hour Las Vegas marriage several years ago really mean more in this country than my friends who have been in a committed relationship for 10 years? Is that where you want to live? Is that the community you want to raise your children in?

It is time. Give the LGBT community your ear this holiday season. And in the new year give them your votes as well. We are not a wedge issue, we are flesh and blood. And we are not going anywhere. We are Missoula. Speak up. Stand OUT.

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