To the editor:
To the LGBTQ children and youth living here now or who grew up in the Copper Country, you are, and always were, important members of our community. There are many adults who know you as assets to our community and know that in a just world you would be accepted and honored as you are. People like me are uplifted by your courage and tremendous spirit as you explore how to be comfortable with yourself and find your place in our culture.
Some letters in this paper have expressed opinions less affirming than mine. Some were even hostile. Fortunately, other letters conveyed celebration of and support for LGBTQ people. I deeply regret that this is the first time I have written.
My heart goes out to the families of LGBTQ children whose lives end in suicide because of the painful struggle to find a way to be themselves in our culture. Your children’s courageous lives moved hearts and minds and continue to help our culture to be more inclusive for all people.
I wish our community was a place where LGBTQ people were so affirmed and integrated into society that this letter would be unnecessary. I have lived in the Keweenaw for 30 years. I remember how hostile this community was to LGBTQ people back then. I welcome the movement toward a more open and inclusive society, even here in the U.P.
As a member of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, I am proud that my faith has been in the forefront of advocating for the human rights of LGBTQ people since the 1970’s. One of the principles of Unitarian Universalism is the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Our children are taught the importance of human rights including the rights of LGBTQ people.
I recognize that our society has a long way to go before our laws, culture and norms affirm, support and celebrate LGBTQ people throughout their lives. Here are some resources that support LGBTQ people in our community.
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Michigan Tech supports LGBTQ Michigan Tech students. They also work in the community and are free and open to everyone in the larger community. You can find out more about them at: www.mtu.edu/diversity-center
PFLAG is the extended family of the LGBTQ community, made up of LGBTQ individuals, family members and allies. The local chapter is PFLAG Keweenaw and contact information is at: pflag.org/chapter/pflag-keweenaw.