What made me crazy enough to think that the internet needed another blog?
Well, yesterday I was casually browsing Facebook and Tumblr (as usual) and decided to take a break from my crazy work to check the news, as I do almost compulsively. Instead of my usual huge news sources though, I clicked on a local news website to see what was going on.
For those of you outside of San Antonio, the city is currently trying to pass a measure to provide benefits for domestic partners of city employees. Even our mayor Julian Castro and city manager Cheryl Sculley are on board with this. (in fact, both Castro and Sculley have been chosen in the past to serve as Grand Marshal of our pride parade)
There was a poll on the website that asked whether or not you are in support of domestic partner benefits, and I answered “yes,” obviously, and was stunned by the results of the poll (60% oppose the measure) but even more so by the comments people had left.
We’re not a super-conservative city, but the vast majority of our population is religious. While most of those people do not actively protest gays, their leaders do, and we have some pretty vehemently anti-gay religious leaders here*.
Apparently, they’ve gotten their message across to a small, but outspoken, group of people. The hate speech I saw in comments on my local news website just blew my mind. I didn’t know that such hate could be so close to home in a city that seemed to really not bring up the gay issue too often.
We have a large gay population, and 33% of same-sex couples in San Antonio are even raising children—that’s the highest percentage of any city in the country. Our biggest local companies like USAA, Rackspace, and many others, already provide benefits for domestic partners of employees. Also, this new measure would only cost the city $300,000, or less than 1/10th of 1% of our annual budget!**
This craziness has prompted me to be more involved in person; not just behind the computer screen anymore. On Friday, I am helping GetEQUAL Texas canvas the downtown area for signatures in support of the domestic partner benefits measure, and that’s just the beginning of what I’m going to be involved in.
So that’s part of what made me want to start a new blog that focuses on LGBTQ issues. I want a personal blog that chronicles my journey as a new gay activist (and hopefully inspires others to do the same) and offers hope to those who feel like they are always stuck under the oppressive thumb of hatred. THAT’S NOT THE CASE. We WILL be equals. Don’t let your anger or frustration turn to sadness or feelings of helplessness—we will do this!
* San Antonio is also home to 19 wonderful, gay-affirming ministries.
** Check out our budget here and the additions in spending here.
Note: we approved additional spending of $400,000 to extend public pool hours in June, July, and August. I think we can swing $300,000 for health insurance for same-sex partners of city employees.