More than three dozen citizen from across the Panhandle attended the LGBT Forum co-hosted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Nebraska ROOTS and the Scotts Bluff County Democratic Party in Scottsbluff. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
Drew Heckman of the Human Rights Campaign spoke to the crowd about a recent LGBT survey of Nebraskans and highlighted a number of projects HRC and other organizations are currently work on across the state, specifically HRC’s Equality Is Our Business campaign. The campaign encourages businesses to sign a pledge to support workplace diversity and equal treatment of all employees, including LGBT employees.
“Equality makes good business sense and this pledge is another reminder to our legislators that Nebraska business owners support and embrace the LGBT community,’ said Heckman. “Regardless of our backgrounds, we can all agree that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Local resident and forum co-organizer Jeff Leanna added that “the LGBT community as consumers is particularly brand and business loyal. That loyalty translates into increased profits and support for businesses and communities who show a commitment to diversity.”
Forum participants discussed support for Nebraska Legislative Bill 586, reaching out to national groups PFLAG, the nation’s largest family and ally organization supporting LGBT rights, and GLSEN, a national organization that works with schools and educators to increase safe schools for LGBT youth.
“We had a broad cross-section of community members attend our forum. There were clergy, teachers, law enforcement officers, government employees, social workers, retired citizens, business owners and community leaders who are all committed to LGBT equality in our communities,” said Ryan Griffin, Outreach Director for the Scotts Bluff County Democrats. “The turnout shows that we have a vibrant and active LGBT culture in the Panhandle.”