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Do you hear what I hear? | Sex in the Suburbs
I was listening to the radio the other day — you know, one of the stations that plays holiday music 24 hours a day this time of year.
The song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” came on, and I started wondering….
Do you see what I see? I see the tide turning for marriage equality in our country, and people dancing in the night.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have passed marriage equality laws. Furthermore, eight of New Mexico’s 33 counties, accounting for over half their population, issue or plan to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Same-sex marriage is also possible in several Native American Tribal jurisdictions.
On the tail of the Defense of Marriage Act being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, CNNMoney reports that “a record 304 U.S. companies boast perfect ‘corporate equality’ scores of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign.”
“Corporate equality” refers to a company’s non-discrimination policies protecting LGBT employees, same-sex health benefits, transgender-inclusive medical insurance and public support of LGBT equality.
Do you hear what I hear? I hear songs of love, high above the trees, being sung in honor of those who are committing their lives to each other, no matter what their sexual orientation.
I hear voices as big as the sea rising up to demand inclusion and equality. I hear corporations, faith communities, schools and families welcoming people into their midst, whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or straight. I hear progress.
Do you know what I know? I know there is still a lot of work to do. Equal rights are still an uphill battle in too many places. Too many children shiver in the night because they are unwanted, either because they have been disowned due to their sexuality, or because they have run away from sexual abuse at home.
Too many of our children end up being sexually trafficked. Right here in Federal Way, the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking is working diligently to raise awareness, increase prevention programs and help those who have survived this horrific experience. Consider giving some of your silver to this golden cause this holiday season.
Listen to what I say. I am not a mighty king. However, I hope you will listen when I say that even though there has been progress, we have so much more work to do. We need to continue to improve our efforts to provide top-notch sexuality education to our youth so they can be safe in relationships and make better decisions.
We need to keep advocating for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to be fully included members of our society, instead of living in fear of harm. We need to report suspected abuse and support families who are struggling.
We need to examine our own attitudes about sexuality, values, roles and relationships. We need to keep growing.
I hope you will join me in continuing to do the work of bringing goodness and light, in the form of education, support, and inclusivity, to all our children.
Amy Johnson, MSW, is a trainer, educator and coach in the Pacific Northwest. She is co-author of the books “Parenting by Strengths: A Parent’s Guide for Challenging Situations” and “Homegrown Faith and Justice.” Amy facilitates classes and workshops in the Puget Sound area and online. She specializes in working with parents and in sexuality education. Amy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.