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What would you do if you knew there was a community within your community that needed your help?

This community is comprised of our daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, neighbors etc. Yet, they are fighting a battle with minimal assistance from us, their loved ones.

That battle is acceptance and inclusion.

Many people within this community struggle with seeking necessary services due to the stigma attached to them simply being who they are. They are not recognized or represented. Our services and policies do not reflect their need. They are not accepted where they should feel the safest. Acknowledgement of abuse within this community is minimized and sometimes discouraged by people who cannot understand them. This is our LGBTQ community.

Today, more the 9 million people in the U.S identify as LGBTQ. Why, with all of the technology and access we have to information, would this community still need to explain who they are and why they love who they love? Why do they have to be called by pronouns they don’t identify with? Why are we so unaccepting of the fact that there are more than male and female gender identities? Why are they seeking services from a doctor, counselor, dentist, etc. and being turned away?

We have a duty to ensure that all of the people in McLean County feel supported and cared for. Be mindful of that when interacting with everyone, including the LGBTQ community. Mindfulness and checking biases is the best way you can help.

Gaynett Hoskins, Bloomington

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