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Crooked Letter I LGBT Essayists Respond to Human Rights Campaign Alabama Survey, Part 2: B. Andrew Plant

Crooked Letter I: Coming Out in the South, edited by Connie GriffinCrooked Letter I, an anthology of Southern-themed LGBT coming out stories, will be published by NewSouth Books in 2015. This week we’re posting thoughts by some of the anthology contributors about a recent survey of LGBT Alabamians conducted by the Human Rights Campaign in Alabama. Read the first part of this series, featuring thoughts from Susan Benton. The second submission is from B. Andrew Plant:

Surveys like this are important because they underscore that, no matter how far we have come in terms of LGBTQ acceptance, many people live every day with discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It’s crucial for non-LGBTQ people to read that, in general, those in our community want the same things they do, like a home, family and to live and work without fear.

Too often, LGBTQ people have left their homes, whether it is the family home or their home state, so that they can be who they are and live openly. Obviously, the goal should be not just to realize that we are everywhere, but to work for a time when we will be able to live openly anywhere, without fear of harassment, job loss, denial of fundamental services like healthcare, or worse.

Particularly for us Southerners, it’s important to see that many LGBTQ people are indeed people of faith. We’re not outside those communities; we are part of them. Or many of us want to be. Maybe until those communities of faith welcome us on equal footing we need to redirect our time and dollars to organizations that do support us and which work to educate others.

It’s easy to compartmentalize organizations like HRC as being by and for gays of privilege or just for those of us in more urban areas. Surveys like this underscore broad outreach and the need for more of the same. After all, much of the South is not urban; we should be able to embrace that and be who we are where we are.

Crooked Letter I will be available direct from NewSouth Books or from your favorite bookstore in 2015. Come back tomorrow for another response to the survey from a Crooked Letter I contributor.