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The right to be ‘˜different’ now

By Kay S. Pedrotti This is a column I never thought I would be writing. Not because I am afraid or appalled, but because the subject creates in my mind such a contradictory mixture of heartache, cheering, conflicting emotions, unconditional love, and even hope. I am writing ‘the little I know, but I’m learning’ about the rights of LGBTQ people. First you need to know there are two transgender persons in my family who are very close to me. They are much loved, even if not fully understood. I love them because love is a primary force in my life and always has been, and because they have been dear to me from the moment they were born. In the 1950s when I started to school, and even when I graduated high school, I was nowhere near the person I am today. It’s too long a story to tell here, but the Holy Spirit entered my everyday existence at about age 19 and nothing has been the same since. I learned that ALL people have rights, and no one deserves to be at the bottom of the barrel because of skin color, creed, sexual orientation or behavior that is ‘odd’ to most of the populace. It’s interesting to me that those who are most adamant against homosexuality quote certain Bible verses on the subject, as in ‘abomination to the Lord.’ If the entire King James Version is studied, they would find dozens and dozens of references on things ‘“ having nothing to do with sex ‘“ that were also described as ‘abominations.’ When I lived in Savannah, Black people and gay people were among my closest friends. That was the 1960s, when the struggle for civil rights reached some successes that had been too long in coming. But the gays were still ‘in the closet.’ They never seemed very happy to me; now I know it was because they were not allowed to ‘be themselves’ without being ostracized, refused employment or forced out of neighborhoods. One friend finally had all he could take and killed himself; he had been a very successful person (because he could hide his orientation) and had never harmed a soul. I mourned with all the ‘different folks.’ Now there are people in the streets who claim to be fighting for the rights of downtrodden people, but in their methods of drawing attention they have limited opportunities and deliberately hurt those they claim to want to help. If there are no stores, and no products, there will be no jobs and no one will have equal access to anything from neck bones to Tiffany’s neck adornments. If there are no police, no law enforcement, everyone suffers; but especially those who live in high-crime areas, because they have no protection except that provided by law enforcement. I think I was ‘woke’ long before that expression came into being. Being an older person means having a certain wisdom that most younger people do not yet have. Why some insist that older people must think and act exactly as we are told to do by younger people is beyond my comprehension. They do not realize that all they have, right down to their ideals, has been brought to them by the generations who came before. I very definitely taught my children not to discriminate against Blacks or any other people of color, to be kind to everyone who is ‘different’ (their acts of kindness and friendship with special needs children came easily to them), and to be the best people they could be. Now if I am to be required to watch United States history disappear, I will be among the few who remember that if you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. If we start condemning and ignoring everybody who ever did anything ‘wrong,’ then I want all the condemners to give us their own family history. I know there were slaveholders in my ancestry and others who were people of God who condemned slavery. How many of the monument-destroyers could claim they were not descended from the arrogant British in India, the repressive Dutch in south Africa, the pioneers who participated in the decimation of the buffalo and the slaughter of Indians, or the German Nazi regime? We all need help ‘“ especially the politicians who seem not to be able to be ‘for’ anything but radically ‘against’ many things. I will vote my conscience, but I will not be terrorized into a position of fear, hate and anger. Kay S. Pedrotti has spent some 50 years writing for newspapers. She is active in the Lamar County community and currently serves as the president of Lamar Arts. She lives in Milner with her husband Bob Pedrotti.

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