Carol Growhoski / Nicole LeFavour 2006
Some days it is harder than others to be the only gay person in the legislature. Ninety nine percent of the time there is no reason for me to feel it. My colleagues ask about my partner Carol. When I talk about what I did over the weekend I might say "Carol and I." I don’t think much about it and I don’t think they do either. At least not most of them.
Rep. Curtis Bowers wrote a pretty frightening anti-gay editorial to the Idaho Press Tribune the other day. Bowers was appointed by Governor Otter this year to fill Rep. Bob Ring’s seat. Dr. Ring is one of a group of Republican senators and representative who voted against the anti-gay constitutional amendment when he served in the house. Today I miss him more than ever.
I imagine some days it is not easy for Raul Labrador listening to the debates around immigration and how they so easily flow into anti-Mexican, anti-Hispanic and racially stereotyping tirades. It is an odd feeling to know that someone you work with doesn’t just perhaps disagree with your ideas or beliefs but feels that you as a person are lesser or evil or by virtue of your existence deserving of pain or derision.
Representative Bowers sits behind me here on the balcony of the House. I stood up a bit ago and went back to tell him how uncomfortable his editorial made me and how sorry I was to see he felt that way about gay people. He was willing to talk more about it. I offered to answer questions when he has them.
I don’t know if it will ever really make any difference since I understand he is a strong John Birch Society devotee. But I want him to see me as human. Even if he never votes in a way that shows he respects or cares about gay people, I want him to see me as human.