How Could I Not, by Bob Padgett

Monday, June 4th, 2012

My name is Bob Padgett.  As soon as I heard of the NOH8 Campaign I knew I would participate.  How could I not? I often resort to "bumper sticker" philosophies when making a point and two are particularly applicable concerning my feelings about LGBT rights.  The first is, "I'm straight but not narrow." The second is, "No one is free when others are oppressed."

I have spent most of my life actively standing up and speaking out for the rights of persons to live their lives and speak their minds as they see fit.  I am from Kentucky. My state government and likely a majority of the population are not known as bastions of liberal thinking.  Too much energy is expended here attempting to force conformity to perceived "norms" of religious and conservative persons often zealous in their beliefs and persecutory in their actions.

I will never understand how persons can deny basic human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to anyone while insisting they be given those same rights. There is no intellectual or emotional argument that can justify their position.  I was bullied in my youth and have been called every vile name in the book in adulthood for confronting oppression whenever and wherever it is encountered.  None of my friends in the LGBT community have been free from the insidious invective of narrow-minded persons and institutions and it tears at my heart and soul.

Thank you NOH8 and all the participants and supporters of LGBT and human rights that have made possible this opportunity to publicly make a stand.  I am sure the changes in society we seek will happen one day.  It is difficult to accept that some advances are generational in nature and may not happen universally in my lifetime.  But I am sure they WILL occur and I take solace in that faith.  Let us all pledge to not let any injustice pass without confronting it, without standing up, without speaking out for the oppressed. For if we want the same rights for ourselves and our own, how could we not?


-Bob Padgett


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