Alan Stogner signed LGBTQ open letter to our fellow Tennesseans 2016-12-23 22:10:23 -0600We just wanted to be treated like equal citizens, like human beings.665 signatures
An open letter from Tennessee's LGBTQ community to our fellow Tennesseans
As members of the LGBTQ community, we write to our fellow Tennesseans a month after the election and a month before the upcoming state legislative session.
In recent weeks members of our community have experienced grave assaults on our safety and dignity. A gay, gender nonconforming man was murdered. A transgender woman’s car was burned. The signs and doors of a church that affirms our community have been vandalized. A gay couple received a package with a knife sticking out and a message attached urging them to leave the state.
These attacks upon individuals and institutions have put our lives and safety at even greater risk than usual. They contravene the welcoming traditions of hospitality for which Tennessee is known.
The time we have entered is critical. Many are calling for healing in the wake of a divisive election. Healing is difficult while fresh wounds are being inflicted such as discriminatory state legislation.
So we are speaking out for our safety, dignity, and equal rights under the law.
Our struggle is not against your values, unless you value discrimination. LGBTQ Tennesseans are your neighbors, your family members, your health care providers, firefighters, grocery clerks, teachers, elected officials, and we fill many other roles vital to the life of small towns and large cities. Many of us grew up and continue to be active in the same faith communities as you.
In the long story of our community’s struggles, we have relied on our own strength to sustain us. We have also experienced the joy of working with countless allies. Now is a time for allies to speak out with us and we invite people of good will throughout the state to build a stronger, inclusive, welcoming Tennessee to meet our state’s common challenges together.
If you share these values and priorities, we invite you to add your name to this letter.
Alan Stogner endorsed 2016-04-24 11:45:17 -0500The purpose of religion is to provide personal, individual guidance and to enhance a personal relationship with God, not to use as a tool of hate and discrimination against others. If one believes the book of any religion is to be used to promote hate and segregation against certain members of society, one clearly needs to read it again, the point has been missed!
On April 18, 2016 about 30 pastors shamefully stood in Legislative Plaza and spoke in favor of the anti-transgender student bathroom bill. And religion was used to advance the counseling discrimination bill. Many more clergy across Tennessee publicly opposed both bills.
Whether you're religious or not, aren't you tired of religion being used to support discrimination in our laws? If so, endorse this statement:
We oppose the use of religion to justify discrimination in Tennessee law. To use religion to divide us in our public life violates the spirit of the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions, does harm to the people of Tennessee, and brings scandal to religion.Endorse
Alan Stogner signed Governor Haslam, Keep listening and oppose HB2414 2016-04-14 17:35:00 -0500I believe there are far more important issues the state of Tennessee needs to be spending time and money on other than who is using which bathroom – such as education, Knoxville’s homeless population and why some of the vacant buildings downtown are not used to provide more shelters and services to help make the homeless independent, productive members of society again, bullying in schools, education, etc. But since discrimination and bathrooms are the subject at hand, no transgender person has ever been arrested or convicted of sex crimes in public restrooms! I do not wish to be a part of any community that supports division of its members through acts or laws based on hate, fear, bigotry, racism, religious differences, gender, sexual orientation, income, disability, or any other number of reasons that people use to categorize and segregate. We are all human, all created equal, and all want the freedom to just live our day-to-day lives as happily as possible. As for the bathroom situation, regardless of what gender a person was born as, if they are dressing as, and appear to be a woman (for instance), isn’t it going to cause more problems for them to be using a men’s bathroom? If people are going to bring children into the debate, imagine explaining to a 5-year-old why a “woman” is using the men’s restroom. Imagine the possibilities of hate crimes committed against these individuals because they appear to be the wrong gender for the facility they’re using! Trans people have been using the restrooms of the gender they identify with and live as for years, and most people have probably never even known or paid any attention. So why is it an issue now? This is just another example of “labeling” and discrimination based on those labels. (It’s just as ridiculous as the trivializing and demeaning of the Bible, or the book of any religion (and the faith of those who believe in it), to be made “the state book”. ) Maybe one day no one will be black, white, gay, straight, handicapped, rich, poor, fat, skinny, Christian, Muslim, nerdy, athletic, Asian, Mexican, disfigured, homeless, pretty, depressed, etc. Maybe one day we’ll all just be “people”, and treat each other as such. Maybe one day we’ll stop seeing our differences and start embracing our similarities. That’s the community I wish to be a part of!
Sign this NEW petition urging Governor Bill Haslam to keep listening to the voices opposed to the anti-transgender student bathroom bill!1,534 signatures
Governor Haslam, please continue to oppose HB2414 and listen to the voices of transgender students and the business community speaking out against the bill. Thank you for considering our views.