I felt proud when the Supreme Court ruled employment discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal. I remember how years of experiencing homophobic prejudice from classmates and even members of my family led me to be so nervous I could barely get the words out of my mouth when I first came out to my sister at age 15.
Things have gotten better, but coming out is something you never stop doing. With that comes a lifelong fear of discrimination in areas such as the workplace.
I am disappointed to see Congressman Jim Hagedorn disagrees with the decision and that when presented with The Equality Act in 2019, which would have added employment protections, along with other similar protections to federal law, he declared himself “a solid no.”
This puts him out of touch with the vast majority of Americans, including many conservatives who know it is common sense and decency that it should not be legal to fire anyone for who they are or who they love.
I know Dan Feehan is an ally to the LGBTQ community and was happy to see him celebrate this victory with us. I walked with him at Mankato Pridefest and saw the way he teaches his children acceptance. If my peers and I had a role model like Feehan instilling those lessons in us growing up I imagine my teenage years would have been much easier.
Employment protections are a way of ensuring everyone is a part of the freedom and community we all deserve with no exceptions. With leaders such as Feehan in Congress, we can make this a reality for all Americans.