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sexual orientation

Bigots Pay More

I’m frustrated about the slew of anti-LGBT laws that have passed and are under consideration all over the country. I was happy to see celebrities responding to the transphobic bathroom law in North Carolina – Bruce Springsteen cancelled his show and Mumford & Sons donated the profits from their North Carolina show to a local LGBT organization.

SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663 by Ted Eytan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

SCOTUS APRIL 2015 LGBTQ 54663 by Ted Eytan from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I don’t live in North Carolina or Mississippi, but I want to respond to these anti-LGBT laws too. I’ve been reading the labels on products in my kitchen and bathroom to make sure I’m not buying things from those states. Originally I considered adding a “bigot fee” for any speaking engagement in a state that has an anti-LGBT law in place, but then I had a better idea.

I raised my speaking fee and added the opportunity for discounts for those that qualify:

  • Equality Discount – for states, cities, and counties that don’t have anti-LGBT laws in place: $1,000 discount (Companies that opposed these laws before and after these laws passed also qualify – it’s not their fault the people in power are closed-minded jerks.)
  • Gender Neutral Bathrooms Discount – must be at hiring company and venue locations: $500 discount
  • Equal Pay Discount – if the hiring company can demonstrate they give equal pay to all genders in comparable positions: $500 discount
  • Non-Discrimination Discount – if the hiring company lists sexual orientation and gender expression in its non-discrimination policy: $500 discount

If a company wants to hire me and they qualify for all the discounts, it’s a $2,500 savings. These are issues that are important to me and I’m happy to give discounts to those who share my views enough to implement change and stand for equality.

Stand Against North Carolina

-> North Carolina -> by Justin Warner from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

-> North Carolina -> by Justin Warner from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

The State of North Carolina can go fornicate with itself. I can’t believe the bigots in power over there not only passed HB2, but their governor signed it! (At least when the bigots in office in Arizona voted in favor of SB 1062, our moron governor was smart enough not to sign it.)

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this new law prevents municipalities from passing LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances and it requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

This law makes me so angry. It’s hard to believe people still have these backwards beliefs. I don’t know what y’all in North Carolina do in bathrooms, but I use them to use the toilet, wash my hands, and check my hair. In the 36 years I’ve been using public bathrooms, I’ve never had an issue with another user.

Being that I’m across the country, I felt somewhat powerless – but then I thought about what little things I could do:

I can choose not to attend events in North Carolina until this law is repealed. If there’s an event I feel compelled to attend, I can require a North-Carolina-Bigot fee in addition to my usual speaking fee.

I’m not licensed to practice law in North Carolina, but I can do federal work from anywhere. I can choose not to accept clients from North Carolina, or limit my engagement to clients who have anti-discrimination policies and practices that include gender identity and sexual orientation.

I can have similar rules for products from North Carolina. (Don’t think I’m joking about this. I boycotted all the sponsors of the Sochi Olympic Games who didn’t openly oppose Russia’s anti-LGBT laws for the duration of the games.)

As a lawyer, I started thinking about contracts. I would support clients adding a provision to their contracts that requires clients to have anti-discrimination policies that include gender identity and sexual orientation and that the company must publicly oppose all applicable state and federal laws that would permit such discrimination. (Now my head is spinning with other ideas – like equal pay for men and women within the company.)

Until this law is repealed, I hope someone makes a video similar to this, asking people if they brought their birth certificate to government buildings to verify that they’re using the appropriate bathroom – much like this guy asked white people if they were immigrants in the SB 1070 days in Arizona.

My hat goes off to the many companies that have already spoken out against this new law including Marriott, Apple, Google, PayPal, and the National Basketball Association. I hope more people and companies will do what they can to influence this situation. Every little bit helps.

I Want Gay Couples on the Kiss Cam

I was at the Arizona Diamondbacks/San Francisco Giants game on Sunday, September 16th. Some time during every game they do the “Kiss Cam” where they put couples on the jumbotron and try to get them to kiss. This is also when we see marriage proposals during the game. It’s cheesy but it’s sweet.

Jamie and Lisa

I don’t go to many Major League Baseball games, but out of all the games I’ve gone to, I’ve never seen them put a same-sex couple on the Kiss Cam. I put the question out to my Facebook friends and none of them had ever seen a same-sex couple on the Kiss Cam either. It makes me wonder if the Diamondbacks are homophobic, or if they are afraid to acknowledge supports for gay couples.

One of my friends suggested that perhaps the Diamondbacks as an organization are not homophobic but they are concerned about the backlash that might occur if they show a same-sex couple kissing in the stadium. She brings up a good question: how many people would stop attending Diamondbacks games if a gay couple kissed on the jumbotron? Would there big protests like they had Chick-Fil-A?

Sam and Clinton

I’m of the belief that if you’re not attracted to people of the same gender, don’t date them. It doesn’t make homosexuality wrong. It’s like any other sexual attraction and everyone has their deal-breaker quaities. Just as some people won’t date someone if they are a smoker or have kids, other people require certain genitalia on their partners. I’m bisexual so the junk in your pants isn’t going to be the deal-breaker for me and that may help me view sexual orientation differently than others. To me, it’s ok if you’re not attracted to someone, but it’s not ok to say that another person is sick or wrong if they are attracted to them.

Tyler and Krys – They’re Straight

Another friend brought up the question of how would the camera operator know if two people are a couple or just friends. That’s a challenge that the camera operators already deal with. I’ve seen them put people on the Kiss Cam who are siblings or otherwise not in a romantic relationship. Innocent mistakes happen. If they see two people kissing during the game, that’s a good indicator they’re a couple.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, and all professional sports teams who have a Kiss Cam during their games, have an obligation to treat all their patrons equally, which means putting heterosexuals and homosexual couples on the jumbotron.  They have an opportunity as leaders in their communities to demonstrate their acceptance of homosexuality, that sexual orientation should be a non-issue, and that two people in love is not a threat to other relationships.

If you have professional sport team that does a Kiss Cam during their games, tell them that you want same-sex couples on it. If they already do it, thank them.

Special thanks to my friends Jamie, Lisa, Sam, and Clinton for letting me use your photos. Much love to all of you! Thanks Victor Moreno for letting me use your photo Tyler and Krys.

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