Lenard Mace – Discrimination

“We have to accept our own diversity.”

Twenty-seven years ago, when I came out, it was still unsafe to walk down the street at night going and coming from the gay bar. There were bashings all the time. We went in groups. Yeah. Huge, huge progress has been made. Lots of room for improvement yet, but we’re getting there.

I worked 34 years with the Department of Social and Health Services and, early on, I came out at work. It was just not a big deal. There were times when I questioned, “Why is it so easy for me?” Not that it was easy, but when other people, my peers, were being fired for God-only-knows-what-reason—we knew “the reason”—and just having a really difficult time.

Even within the GLBT community, it’s like, “Come on, people. Get over yourselves.” You know, we all say we want to be treated equally and yet there are certain people that want nothing to do with the drag queens; there are certain people that want nothing to do with women, or men. There are all these little subdivisions. If we ever going to be united and work together for the betterment of our community, doesn’t that mean we have to accept our own diversity? Hello?!

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Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson and Katya M., 2007; held in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.