by Troy Williams
photo by Ben Winslow, Fox 13
So here I am at the Utah Capitol, being interviewed by everybody’s favorite newscaster Ben Winslow on Fox 13. I’m being extremely eloquent, laying out my prophetic vision regarding the American cultural shift toward full LGBT equality and blah blah blah…WTF?
Some asshat in the background is photo-bombing my big moment!
He kept his finger out during my entire interview! Ben couldn’t broadcast a single frame of my spectacular oratory all because of this Cro-magnon moron! I later discovered that he was walking around our entire “United We Stand” rally making crude gestures in front of the cameras. Trying to ruin our moment.
This, my friends is what an Internet troll looks like. He is the creep on the comment boards that calls Obama a socialist and gay parents pedophiles. He’s the kind of guy who wants the government to get its hands off his mother’s Medicare. He also loved Good Day to Die Hard and has stashed under his mattress a collection of barnyard porn.
When I look at this subtle display of red-neck sophistication I can see clearly the character of the men and women aligned against us.
And I know we are winning.
photo by David Newkirk
But he couldn’t spoil the day. No way. The afternoon was beautiful. How can you beat hanging out at the Capitol with some of Utah’s most inspiring citizens?
Looking out at the ethnically diverse crowd I couldn’t help but think of Harvey Milk’s “coalition of Us’es” — the marginalized few who stand together against all odds.
Jani Iwamoto spoke about Japanese interment in Utah, Jeannette Williams from NAACP reminded us how her people moved from slavery to freedom, Archie Archuleta from the Utah Coalition of LaRaza ignited us together in solidarity, and Berta Marquez from Mormons Building Bridges recalled the persecution that drove Latter-day Saints west.
All of these groups represent people that have historically faced persecution. They stood together with us and demanded an end to LGBT discrimination in Utah.
Jeanetta Williams from the NAACP
It was brilliant.
SB 262, our bill that would have ended LGBT workplace and housing discrimination in Utah, historically made it out of committee, but our legislators were too cowardly to take it to the Senate floor. They were too busy finding ways to kill wolves and reject federal healthcare money for low-income Utahans.
That’s the Utah Legislature for you. Reactionary, xenophobic and absolutely determined to stick it to the feds, even at the cost of their own people.
But there were bright spots on the LGBT front this session. Mormon Republican Steve Uruqhart surprised many in his party by standing up to sponsor the bill. He’s no leftist radical. He’s a conservative guy who believes that every person in Utah should have a fair shot.
That gives me hope.
Of course the xenophobes have more influence in the Legislature than we do for the time being. They serve their ideological constituents, men like my photo-bombing troll. So I don’t worry too much. I see where we are headed as a nation. We can move forward with every confidence that we will soon see full equality for all LGBT Americans in all fifty states – and yes, that includes Utah.
The work is not over. This isn’t the end, but a midway point down the road. And there is more to do. We must educate our representatives. Come out and talk with our families. Tell our friends. Confide with our co-workers. Live authentically.
We all need to do our part. It’s easy. Click on over to UtahValues.org and find ways to communicate with your legislators. Keep the dialogue going. Because we are coming back next year and we won’t stop.
A big shout out to Brandie Balken and Jim Dabakis and so many more at Equality Utah. They truly understand the importance of coalition building. They work in a spirit of collaboration and have no desire to take the glory for themselves. They work tirelessly to unite the “use’es” – against all odds.
Brandie Balken inspires the crowd!
Dabakis charms the media.
They are my heroes.
I also want to take a sec and tell the world that I’m so glad I’m gay! Because if I wasn’t, I’d never have the most adorable, sweet, handsome and amazing boyfriend ever! I’m pretty blessed.
Josh and Troy photo by Newkirk.
Gay is Great!