For those of you that have evolved in your thinking and those of you that accept the LGBTQ community for what it is, without judgement and without prejudice, you may find the actions I witnessed today unbelievable and ignorant.
I believe many of us naively thought once the supreme court of the United States confirmed that people who identify as LGBTQ deserved the same rights as any other American our fight was over. Sure there will always be people that don’t care for us…but they won’t be able to treat us as if we are not equal.
Silly us. Though we have made great strides and though we are now afforded many of the same rights as others, there are still plenty of people in our country that believe who we are and how we live is “sinful” and “wrong.” The same people will continue to fight against any advance we make socially, politically and religiously.
Today I was reminded of this.
I attended a conference for people that work with the senior population. Organized by Tarrant Area Gerontological Society. The majority of the event planners and attendees were social workers. When a group of social workers get together you know most of the conversations will be inclusive, progressive and tilt to the left. Our conferences tend to focus on ways to assure the people we serve are given the tools they need to function in the world.
Rarely do we find ourselves having to confront prejudice during a conference. Today that changed. Our conference was held at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Apparently they took issue with the fact that the Coalition for Aging LGBT paid to have a vender booth and would be presenting one of the educational sessions. The seminary refused to allow the organization to have a booth. They actually went to the board of directors of TAGS and told them the booth must be dismantled. It is my understanding that when the group attempted to challenge the seminary’s decision they were told if they put the booth back up they would not be provided a microphone for the presentation.
This really happened.
I am happy to say the TAGS board members were just as upset as the rest of us. I was told by several of the board members they would never rent this space again for any activity. The Coalition for Aging LGBT did dismantle the booth, but they maintained a presence at the conference throughout the day and other vender booths voluntarily displayed the Coalition’s educational material. The coalition also went through with their presentation with grace, class and dignity.