Posted by: outandequal | May 16, 2014

How rainbow candles made an activist

By April Hawkins, Out & Equal Senior Communications Managerrainbow candles

Tomorrow is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.  This is a special day for all of us to show support for our community.

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced uncensored homophobia. It happened fourteen years ago in Houston, Texas after someone broke into my apartment. Two burly “good ole boy” police officers came to my house to check it out after I called 911. They took one look at my pixie haircut and rainbow candles and understood that I am an out and proud lesbian. They refused to write a report about the break-in.

“We don’t want people like you around here anyway,” one officer informed me. I filed a complaint with the Houston police department’s internal affairs department. The female officer who took my complaint chastised me for not calling 911 again when the officers refused to help. My complaint ended there. Not long after that, I took my rainbow candles and my pixie haircut and moved to San Francisco.

Almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person my age has a story like mine. The times are changing, though. Houston elected openly lesbian mayor Annise Parker in 2010. Out & Equal honored her with the 2012 Workplace Advocacy award. I was really proud to be on the Out & Equal team that day, and grateful for the positive change in Houston.

The progress that has taken place in Houston is a snippet of the great change we’ve seen over the past two years. It takes the courage and the strength of our whole community to continue moving in the right direction.

The times are changing, but we still do not have equal rights, even here in the United States. Please take a stand on this international day against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Find a local event, donate to a LGBT organization, or simply share your story.

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