Rep. Bartlett has ‘courage’Published May 1, 2008
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Congratulations to Connecticut state Rep. Jason Bartlett, for having the courage to “come out” as gay.
Each time a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) politician or other public figure openly acknowledges his or her sexual orientation, it goes a long way towards securing true equal rights for our vulnerable minority group.
I know from personal experience, when I would organize an activity at the local gay community centers, in New Haven or Norwalk - there were very few racial minority gays who would attend.
Earlier this decade, when I served on the board of directors of Triangle Community Center in Norwalk, a diverse city, almost no racial minority gays or lesbians were present. Most were middle or upper class whites, like me. This made me feel as though the programs for the gay community weren’t reaching those who needed them the most.
The “double minorities” who did attend on occasion, frequently reported a tremendous fear of harassment in their communities. Indeed, most were deep “in the closet”, and didn’t believe they could come out.
Most have very real fears of being kicked out of their homes and churches, or worse, should it be known they are not heterosexual.
Fortunately, some racial minorities are taking the bold and courageous steps of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
As a double minority, this politician is even more courageous - and his example will help others gain that courage.
The fact that there was so little controversy here in Connecticut about this news, shows that overall, as a state, we have become more progressive and tolerant.
Hopefully this will increase support for true marriage equality and a strengthening of anti-hate and anti-bullying laws for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Americans.
David B. Cappiello
Writer and Gay Community Organizer
New Haven County, CT