Hello City Council Members,
As a local business owner, a life-long Chattanoogan, and a concerned citizen, I’d like to
wholeheartedly express my company’s support of the Call for Equity Ordinance, issued
recently by the Chattanooga Queer Community Forum.
As we have learned from Mayor Berke’s fine leadership, we are a stronger community
when everyone has a seat at the table. I remember how impressed I was at Mayor
Berke’s response to the tragic 2015 shooting at the US Navy Reserve as he
immediately ensured the Muslim members of our community felt safe and protected
from any undue retaliation. The best moments in our city’s history has been when we
protected the most vulnerable of our citizens from any form of discrimination or abuse.
I have no doubt that our city and your ordinances will be at the forefront of ensuring
equal rights and treatment of the LGBTQ members of our community. As a mental
health therapist, I can tell you that homosexuality is not a new trend sweeping our
nation – rather, people of all sexual orientations have long been a part of our
community, nation and world - and it’s time that we make room for them. LGBTQ
people deserve more than tolerance, they deserve to be celebrated, accepted and
protected at the same level of any other community member.
LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a
mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. The fear of coming
out and being discriminated against can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress
disorder, suicidal thoughts and substance abuse. Let’s do all we can to lessen this
statistic and make our city a welcoming place for all.