An Open Letter to the State of Arizona:
I am planning a trip your way this year. Two of the most amazing people I know live in your state’s borders. You, Arizona, are home to people I love.
We have a problem. Your “right” to refuse LGBTQ* individuals proves to be a major problem for my future. I came out 9 years ago. There’s not much you can say or do to me that hasn’t been done before. People/Places like you, Arizona, used to scare me. I used to play by your rules. I kept my hair long, my clothes “feminine enough,” voice at a high enough pitch, and I believed that I was a little bit less important than other people.
I believed I had to honor rules established in a country that teaches me that I’m a citizen and have equal rights*. I was later taught that the asterisk meant there are exceptions to anyone who isn’t white, cisgender, male, of a certain educational status, a specific religion, heterosexual preference, and economic placement.
Arizona, I realize you believe you want a state of happy Asterisk Americans. I upset that equation. I’m not from your state. I cut my hair as soon as I moved to a state that can’t fire me for being gay. I attend Prides. I moderate a popular Queer* history blog. I’m so far out of the closet that the only time I return is to grab clothing. And sadly, because of this, you feel that even with my two degrees, job, and the money I can spend in your state, I can/should be refused service.
Alright. I have tried. I don’t understand.
Arizona, I’m happy to take my money, energy, love, and passions to California or New Mexico and spend my time in their borders. It doesn’t bother me. I have lived and played by these ridiculous rules for a decade. I can pretend to do it some more.
However, Arizona (and this is where you need to listen), if you touch, refuse, harass, or do anything to break the spirit of my partner, I will not avoid you. I will move to your state, strap a gay flag to my back, petitions under each arm, and I will become Super Dyke, just to remind you every day that I’m here, queer, and you need to get over it.
My gorgeous intelligent partner needs not be worried about you while she is with her father and mother. My lovely and compassionate partner needs not fear that our presence will deny her take out or a day away form a stressful situation because you like to wear your ass as a hat. Pardon, that was immature, but while I’m on the same level as you…
Arizona, I have Southern charm, with West Coast charisma, and Northeast political fire for change. If you mess with her, I will unleash my voice (along with potentially tens of thousands of friends from a website I co-host), and we will show you what a group of dedicated, “second class” individuals can do in shifts.
When you mess with the underrepresented, the underrepresented find commonality and community faster than your prejudice. I’m one hell of an organizer.
Rebecca (creator / co-moderator of KNOWhomo.tumblr)
P.S. I’ll be seeing you this Spring. We can talk face-to-face after I spend time with my extended family. They always come first.
(Reaction to Arizona’s Anti-LGBT law)
I don’t wish to speak on behalf of all of Arizona, but I would like to speak on behalf on the men and women who run businesses in this state.
I can imagine you would hate to be coerced into doing business with a company or store you disagreed with. And you believe you have the right to choose where your money goes.
So why is it that a business owner can be coerced into doing business with other people? Why should they have to surrender their rights? Why is it in the government authority to punish those who choose who they do business with?
I know this may be an odd concept, but in order to make a business transaction to its full potential, it must be mutual. If both parties cannot come to an agreement, but it is forced upon one party or both, then it is coercion.
If a business owner refuses you serviced take your money elsewhere. There are plenty of others who would be more than willing to assist you. Tell others about your experiences. Spread the word. Let the invisible hand of the free market weed out the businesses that are hateful. But don’t expect big brother government to come in and force someone to play nice.