“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We all know these words, but what do they really mean? What do they mean to you?

Throughout history, we have contradicted these sentiments with our actions. We have started wars, committed genocide, enslaved others – all because we did not think they were our equals. Since the beginning of humankind, we have classified each other according to standards we create and then we judge each other accordingly.

Caste systems and classes exist still today. The most recent group of people to endure the wrath of judgement is the LGBT+ community. When I say recent, I mean the last several decades. Ironic, isn’t it? That as a species we are at our most evolved scientifically and technologically, yet we still cling to antiquated religious ideologies. And instead of moving forward, we as a society seem to be moving backwards in our thinking. Recently, anti-LGBT+ bills have been passed across the country. In my state alone (South Dakota) we have been fighting a handful of different discriminatory bills in just the last two years.

And why? Why are so many bills being passed-and even more being introduced that thankfully have not passed? Why are so many people so intent on classifying LGBT+ people as different or abnormal? Why are “Christians” choosing a handful of Bible verses to condemn LGBT+ people while they ignore the hundreds and hundreds of verses that implore kindness, acceptance and generosity onto others? Just a few days ago a transgender woman was turned away from a “Christian” soup kitchen in my state because she was wearing a dress. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/04/transgender-woman-ejected-church-soup-kitchen-wearing-dress/

So I have to wonder, why all the hate? Why all the closed-mindedness in the year 2017? Have we not evolved beyond this? Can we?

For centuries religion has ruled the world; hell, the Vatican is its own country with an international bank that handles billions of dollars every year and is practically untouchable. Religion holds great power over us. I don’t have a problem with religion or faith, I know it brings a great deal of peace and comfort to many people. What I do have a problem with is people using their religion as an excuse to oppress and judge other people. For decades people have been using religion to discriminate against LGBT+ people. Sadly, not much has changed since the Stonewall riots-even this year, right now as you read this, there are legislatures in several states working to pass laws that allow discrimination against LGBT+ people, and they are using religion as their reasoning. And right now, as you read this, an LGBT+ person is being beaten, raped or killed while another LGBT+ teen is committing suicide because of the bullying and harassment they have endured-all in the name of religion.

As a society, we like to think we are more enlightened than the generations that came before us. After all, we would be outraged today if a state wanted to pass a bathroom law that required African American people to use a different bathroom than Caucasian people, because we have evolved past that. Haven’t we? So why are we not outraged that states are passing laws that require transgender people to use certain bathrooms? If you substitute ‘African American’ or ‘Jewish person’ for LGBT+ people in any of these situations and we would riot in the streets.

So why are we not rioting for our LGBT+ brothers and sisters? Is it because a few verses in an ancient book tell us what they do in private is wrong? And if that is the reason, then why are we not stoning people in town squares for wearing linen and wool, or for eating shrimp, or for planting our crops too close together in our gardens, or for having affairs?

Harvey Milk used to say, “If they know us, they can’t hate us.”

If you know more than 12 people, you know an LGBT+ person. Below are some movies and documentaries that may help you understand LGBT+ people more, and to see that they are just that – people.

For the Bible Tells Me So

This is by far one of the best documentaries I’ve seen and I hope if you only watch one video on this page, it’s this one. This used to stream on Netflix but is no longer available on Netflix, so here is a Youtube video of the movie. This has Spanish subtitles but the video is in English.