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Getting Past Politics: Living Our Shared Values

I do not love politics. Much of this year, and all of last week, captures my why: people are forced to find and accentuate the worst in each other (during the primaries, even attacking people who are mostly ideologically aligned) and no matter the outcome, there are a lot of people who feel that they lose. As a person who’s spent my entire life fighting to expand access, only having two options has always felt limiting to me. At a DJA team meeting last Friday, three days into ballot counting, and with us all in an uncertainty-filled fog, I broached the elephant in the room. One of our team members said “we are up” and held up a “fingers crossed” symbol with their hand. Torn but needing to stand in my values I said, “I know that we are all watching with anticipation as the election results come in. I also want you to know that I am not assuming we all voted the same, and that’s ok. I didn’t ask to see your voter registration card as...

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My Connection to LGBTQ+ History and the Road Traveled

In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was found nearly dead, hanging from a fence just outside of Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew was 21 years old. His murderers said that he made sexual advances toward them. They robbed and brutally beat him. Matthew died of his wounds six days later in a Fort Collins, Colorado hospital.

Just two years before, I was living in Fort Collins, CO. I was pursuing a master’s degree, had a full-time assistantship as coordinator of multicultural education and training, and had an internship in the Human Rights Advocacy and Education Office, a department of the City of Fort Collins. My work involved listening to complaints of discrimination in public accommodation, housing, and employment. There was also a huge amount of listening, educating, and advocacy. I was given, early in my life and career, a window into others’ realities in ways that helped broaden my awareness and perspective. I learned that many LGBTQ+ people had been living with threats and...

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