I was raised as a skeptical Humanist, before we really had the word “Humanist” to call ourselves, we used “Agnostic”. I was also raised to believe that EVERY Human is equal, and deserves equal rights. That means all people, regardless of ethnicity, religion or lack thereof, creed, or sexual orientation. I was also raised to appreciate diversity in a part of the United States that has almost no diversity. (Montana has just barely over 1 Million people which are counted in the last census as being 89.7% White, 6.5% Native American, 3.1% Hispanic, 2.5% Multiracial.) How monochromatically depressing.
My home county and town were even more monochromatic, and it was only when I got into high school and we moved to a University town in Montana that I met people of diverse backgrounds. I turned into a sponge, I wanted to learn all I could about who these individuals were, and I was fascinated to hear their stories of who they were, where they came from, where they grew up all around the world, how it was different than where we were at.
With the lack of religious indoctrination, I also didn’t have any learned distrust, dislike, disgust or fear of people who were different than me, so I didn’t see anything that could be “wrong” with someone loving another person of the same sex, and didn’t fully understand about transgender issues until much later, but still knew that they were people who just want to live a life that is honest with themselves about who they are inside, and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s actually something to be appreciated, as any person who lives according to who they are inside, when it doesn’t match the outside, is a very brave individual. I can only appreciate their honesty and bravery, for that is what it is.
When the LGBT movement started to gain momentum, I was instantly an Ally. I knew that it was the RIGHT thing, because everyone MUST HAVE equal rights. This is undeniable, no matter how hard some people seem to believe that it can be denied. Around 2009, my step-daughter came out to her dad and myself. I kind of had an idea that she was a lesbian, but waited for her to decide when to tell us. She instantly had unquestionable, unconditional love and support from both her dad and myself. I am very proud of her for standing strong and being true to herself.
In 2013, I joined the LGBT Colleague Resource Group at work, and then I decided it was not enough to be a vocal ally for my friends and colleagues, so in September 2013, I became an ordained minister through both the First Church of Atheism and American Marriage Ministries. I’ve decided that I will use this title of Minister when I write to legislators about Marriage Equality, and as soon as the state of Arizona has been forced to eliminate Article 20 as unconstitutional, I’ll be taking a couple days off from work to go to the local courthouse to officiate as many marriages as I can before the stay for Appeal can be initiated (because I know Arizona is probably going to fight the decision of the Circuit court judge, like too many other states are doing. Once married, the State must recognize it.)
At the end of the day, I’m just a mom who wants my son and my step-daughter to each have the opportunity to marry the woman they love. I hope to be the one to officiate my step-daughter’s wedding. That would make me very happy. In the meantime, I will still be offering my services for that lucky day.