Changing Hearts and Minds in Mississippi
August 19, 2014 by Rob Hill, HRC Mississippi State Director
For much of the past 12 years, I feared losing my job. This fear came, not because of my performance, but because of the simple fact that I’m gay. Although I loved my work and the successes that came with it, my inability to live authentically among the people I served as a pastor damaged relationships and no doubt, damaged me.
Yet, for the first time in my life, I do not have to fear losing my job because I’m gay. Working for the Human Rights Campaign, my status is determined by how well I do my job and not because of whom I love. This enables me to live fully, without holding back normal details about my life with my colleagues, things such as: what I did over the weekend, a vacation I’ve planned with my partner, etc.
The sad truth, however, for many LGBT Mississippians is that they still fear losing their jobs. Because Mississippi has no laws which protect people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, there is always the possibility of workplace discrimination and, worse, termination.
While I can now rest in the knowledge that being open about my sexual orientation will not result in me being fired, I cannot rest in the knowledge that a large number of LGBT Mississippians do not have basic employment protections as seen here in a recent HRC survey. I’m determined to change this.
When I was a pastor, I would offer an invitation at the conclusion of each worship service, an invitation for others to join in our work of doing good and creating positive change in the world. As state director of HRC Mississippi, I offer a similar invitation. I ask you join me in doing good and creating positive change in our state in order that our neighbors, friends and co-workers can live and work without fear.
Mississippi can be a better place for everyone.
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