Mississippi recently passed a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).” You’ve probably heard of them before. There was one passed in Indiana under Governor Mike Pence and one in North Carolina under Governor Pat McCrory known as HB2. They allow discrimination based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” They are aimed specifically at the LGBTQ community. 20 states already have them and since the election, more are pending.
Not baking a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding is one thing – they can go get a cake somewhere else. (I’m totally against that kind of discrimination as well.) What about the transgender kids who are not allowed to use the bathroom matching their gender identity? How about the transgender person who desires a legal name change and a change to the gender marker on their birth certificate, the first steps in obtaining documentation (driver’s license, passport), in a state that outlaws that?
The fact is that LGBTQ kids are at a much higher risk of attempting suicide and much higher risk of succeeding. They are bullied in person and online. Even kids with supportive parents are starting to feel scared and helpless. I’m scared for them and feel pretty helpless myself. What can I do?
I’m going to do some training that the ACLU is putting on to learn more about how to become more active on the issues I care most deeply about. I don’t want any of my rights eroded and I feel particularly passionate about protecting LGBTQ kids, those who are too young to fight themselves.
If you’re feeling worried or scared about what is next in the new administration, get involved. It’s going to take a lot of feet on the ground to make change. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “In Selma, Alabama, I learned to pray with my feet.” He was talking about the civil rights marches. Today, to me, praying with my feet means more than marching. I may not be able to march, but I can speak up, I can make phone calls, I can write letters. I can make a difference and so can you.
How will you “pray with your feet?”