- March 13, 2013
Post submitted by HRC Steering Committee member Joseph Schuster, political and community outreach co-chair.
Throughout my life, through my family and through schools, I have been taught the importance of volunteering. To further our society we must work to improve it every day of our lives. We live in one of the most advanced societies in the history of civilization, and yet it still discriminates against individuals based on love—based on one’s sexual orientation. I volunteer because I want to stop this discrimination and work towards a place where everyone is free to marry the person they love regardless of sexual orientation.
Society has come a long way in not discriminating against most individuals, yet sexual orientation is still a factor by which select individuals still feel it is OK to discriminate. Laws reinforce this discrimination and it creates a sense among people that if you are gay you cannot be yourself. I remember sleepless nights, thinking how I could be the person that society desired rather than who I am. We continually hear stories of men, women, boys, and girls being bullied because of sexual orientation. How can we as a society allow this behavior to persevere? I volunteer because we must do better, and we must curb discriminatory behavior.
We need to work towards equality for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. People must feel safe at school, at work, or in public being who they are. In order for people to feel safe and comfortable with who they are, we must change laws so that individuals are not treated differently based on sexual orientation, including allowing LGBT individuals to marry. Currently, certain states allow gay men and women to form civil unions, and while these unions are a step in the right direction, these laws say to the LGBT community that we are a different class of citizens, that we can have all of the state rights associated with marriage, but not the legal title. These discriminatory practices must stop, and voters must realize that the LGBT members of society are no different than anyone else and should not be treated differently. To work towards a society where everyone is treated the same, regardless of sexual orientation, is why I volunteer.
Everyone should volunteer for a cause in which they believe. For me, equality is a cause that is near and dear, and a cause that I believe will greatly benefit our society. Through the Human Rights Campaign I have found an organization that is committed to working towards equality for all LGBT Americans. Equality is not something that can happen in a vacuum. Change is necessary throughout the country. I am encouraged by work that is happening in various states, and I am excited about the progress in Colorado. I believe that through our actions in Colorado we can help shape what happens in terms of equality on a national scale, and I look forward to a society in which LGBT Americans are granted the equality we deserve.
Sign up to volunteer with other HRC communities at www.hrc.org/volunteer.