The past few months have been extremely challenging for LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender people as we have seen more legislative attacks on our rights and freedoms than ever before. We’ve seen calls to crisis hotlines for LGBTQ youth increase, and the LGBTQ community in Lincoln has felt this moment deeply with the death of Milo Winslow.

Our community is hurting. We are hurting. The rhetoric and lies that have been shared about transgender people in Lincoln has been devastating and deadly.

Members of the LGBTQ community have been hurt by OutNebraska’s decision to testify in support of the Fairness Ordinance before the city council. We hear your anger, we welcome your dissent, and we have and will continue to examine our actions and who is involved in making decisions for the organization.

We may not all agree on what liberation looks like or what paths we take to get there. The diversity of the LGBTQ community is a strength. OutNebraska is here to advocate for our community but we cannot speak for the entire community. Neither can any other group who is currently speaking, but we can listen to each other.

While no path is without challenges and potential for backlash, we ask that our city council listen to those who have the most to gain and the most to lose: our transgender siblings. Take the time to understand the varied concerns and ask how to cause the least amount of harm in your decisions.

As we look forward, OutNebraska believes that our wider community can benefit from more conversations. We seek to engage in conversations that can change hearts and minds. We seek to build a broad coalition that can support our LGBTQ community and ultimately move us closer to our vision: a city — and state — where LGBTQ people can thrive and feel proud to call home.

We are committed to bringing the LGBTQ community and our allies together because we know our opposition will not stop. We see the ongoing attacks across the country. We need to fiercely build our community, respond to the attacks, and envision a Lincoln where every LGBTQ person can live openly and without the fear of discrimination.