Innocuous?

Photo Credit: Joshua Redwine

It sounds so innocuous – preserve and strengthen families – it could represent any number of mission statements from any number of organizations. It happens to be the mission statement of the organization with an employee who recently visited a coffee shop just a few blocks from Nebraska’s Capitol.

The organization in question – Nebraska Family Alliance – actually works to disrupt and disenfranchise families if those families happen to include LGBTQ+ people. 

They have relentlessly campaigned against the full and fair inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in Nebraska since their inception. 

They opposed same-sex marriage under the guise of preserving families – despite the fact that LGBTQ+ families were seeking the stability and legal recognition of family that marriage confers.

They have opposed workplace non-discrimination under the guise of preserving families – despite the fact that employment protection for LGBTQ+ people would allow them to be treated fairly and support their families.

Further, they actively oppose workplace protections because they believe that an employer’s religion should give them license to discriminate not only in employment but also in providing services to the public. They love this argument so much, in fact, that a certain baker from Colorado was the keynote speaker at their gala event.

Most recently, they told the Supreme Court that protecting transgender people would harm children – under the guise of preserving families.

There is little doubt that, given the right opportunity, a staff or board member of NFA would pursue a legal case to define political beliefs as a protected status under the guise that those beliefs are religiously motivated.

There is no doubt the organization has benefitted from this news cycle of their creation.

The lived experience of transgender people in Nebraska can be one of constant pressure and fear – will I be fired – kicked out of my housing – assaulted – murdered – for living my authentic life?

And, if you are reading this and think that murder is beyond the pale in this “nice” state, we remember Brandon Teena and we know that Nebraska Nice did not protect him. 

We know that what appears innocuous can be anything but.

Someone lost their cool, and their job, when they cracked under this relentless pressure. 

If Nebraska’s business community wants workers and young people to come back to Nebraska, it is time for the state to stand up to organizations like Nebraska Family Alliance and pass statewide employment protection for LGBTQ+ people. 

OutNebraska pledges to continue the fight to make Nebraska a better place for LGBTQ+ people – a place where no one lives in fear because of who they are or who they love. We invite you to stand with us in this vital work.

Abbi SwatsworthInnocuous?