In aftermath of April 3 election, Anchorage LGBTQA community remains strong
by Shannon Sanderson
Shannon Sanderson reports on how the LGBTQA community is responding to the apparent failure of Proposition 5: “We’ve built a stronger and more tolerant Anchorage, and we know we have farther to go.”
One might expect, in the aftermath of the debacle of Tuesdays’ election, that the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, ally (GLBTA) community of Anchorage, even of all of Alaska, would be hiding. We might expect their heads to be hanging in shame, tails between their legs so to speak, with sadness and disappointment rearranging the expressions upon their faces. We might expect their doubts to be abounding and even anger to be bubbling with this latest reminder that there still remains a significant portion of their city that does not support them as fully equal people. A large group that still demeans them and belittles their importance in and their contribution to the city, the state, the country, even the world.
However, that would be an enormous mistake. In fact, the GLBTA community remains strong. They retain their faith that a better day is coming. They hold on to hope that the wounds of ALL people who continue to be discriminated against and demeaned will be healed. They continue to proffer love and acceptance to a city that remains under the siege of those who would continue to judge and condemn. That ironic similarity to the Christ that some are using as explanation for why such condemnation is their “right” is impossible to miss, don’t you think?
But, most importantly, Wednesday morning and through the afternoon into the late evening, I found that the GLBTA community is celebrating.
Celebrating? You ask. And I will answer emphatically, “YES! Celebrating!”
What do they/we have to celebrate you may wonder. Well, let me tell you the Good News I’ve heard! (Yes, I admit that is another ironic twist).[caption id="attachment_7354" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Pastor Dan Bollerud of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church speaks to a full sanctuary at the Call to Equality prayer service sponsored by Christians for Equality at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 2 Mar 2012."][/caption]
You see, the numbers of people who came out of the woodwork to support and defend our community were enormous. Record-breaking numbers of allies have rallied at our sides. The Christians who support us have become outspoken and they’ve joined together to show that they aren’t few and far between, but numerous and everywhere.
More GLBTA’s have found each other, slipped through the hidden veils where they normally find safety and managed to link hands with others who they know will now be life-long friends.
On Facebook there was concern that The Family (the GLBTA club at University of Alaska Anchorage) may have low numbers in attendance at its Wednesday night meeting. But, it was unwarranted concern, we had new faces to join in our friendly pizza party! People expressed their joy in finding that support remains steady, that acceptance is growing, that understanding is increasing and that more and more safety is expanding. We ended our meeting with pictures, a group even more united together!
Posters were found at Palmer High School announcing a new Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and at least two rooms had rainbow posters specifically identifying them as safe areas for GLBTA students (and staff).
Plans for Pridefest were rolling along steadily and families of allies were helping to plan floats in the parade.
On the few anti-GLBTA fliers that were found, comments had been written by unknown straight “friends” reinforcing that voting down equality for anyone means voting down equality for everyone.[caption id="attachment_7689" align="alignright" width="300" caption="One Anchorage volunteers working the phones on election day, 3 Apr 2012"][/caption]
A Facebook letter on the One Anchorage Campaign page reminded us,
We’ve built a stronger and more tolerant Anchorage, and we know we have farther to go….. we could not be prouder of the honest campaign we ran….. While the vote totals related to date indicate that Prop 5 did not receive sufficient votes to become law, we know our long-term journey towards full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Alaskans will one day-and soon-become a reality.
A friend from The Family wrote a thank you message including, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” Reminding everyone that this is just a battle, not the whole of a war.
The blogosphere is filled with numerous reminders from all over the country that we’ve support in places that previously never knew Alaska had a GLBTA community. The news stations, newspapers are filled with the stories.
The most important piece of information we can take from all of this; is that WE WERE RIGHT! You can’t fight against hatred with hatred. Fight hatred with love. Change may not be seen quickly, but hearts will be moved and you will win.
My friends, we will overcome the oppression that has held us down. Millions before of have set the stage, we have the examples to follow and we’re doing an excellent job. So keep holding your heads high, put your hand out and say hello, introduce yourself and share a hug because we’re a family and with this faith and hope and love we share, we’re only going to keep growing.