My November Article in “10,000 Couples eMag”

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Wanted to share my most recent arti­cle for “10,000 Same –Sex Cou­ples eMagazine”:

Some­one You MUST Know:

Min­nesotans United for All Fam­i­lies Com­mu­nity Orga­nizer Luke Ferguson

by Heidi Mann

Luke Fer­gu­son is one of dozens of com­mu­nity orga­niz­ers work­ing with Min­nesotans United for All Fam­i­lies to oppose a mea­sure on the Novem­ber 6 bal­lot that, if passed, will limit mar­riage to one man and one woman by state con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment. Cer­tainly each per­son employed by or vol­un­teer­ing with Min­nesotans United, or sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions in Maine, Wash­ing­ton, and Mary­land, where sim­i­lar mea­sures will be on the bal­lot, has their own unique story. Because I got to know Luke per­son­ally a few months ago (and – full dis­clo­sure – I am also a Min­nesota res­i­dent), I invited him to be this month’s “Some­one You MUST Know” as a way to rep­re­sent and honor all who are serv­ing in such capacities.

Luke Ferguson

I asked Luke what brought him to this work. His response, in a word: bul­ly­ing. But prob­a­bly not what you’re think­ing; not the type of bul­ly­ing so many of our read­ers (and sub­jects of our arti­cles, such as last month’s “Some­one You MUST Know,” Caleb Laieski) have endured as LGBT indi­vid­u­als. Rather, Luke’s expe­ri­ence demon­strates that bul­ly­ing can go both direc­tions. In his own words:

My house­hold was actu­ally very con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian. I was raised to believe that being gay was wrong. I attended a small pri­vate Chris­t­ian [grade] school that only served to rein­force the teach­ing I got at home about gay and les­bian peo­ple. In fact, before I went to high school, I was so shel­tered I didn’t real­ize that peo­ple thought dif­fer­ently than my fam­ily did.

Then I went to high school, a huge pub­lic high school in Min­neapo­lis. It was one of the most open and accept­ing places towards LGBT stu­dents you could imag­ine. But once I expressed my view that I didn’t think it was OK to be gay, I got bul­lied. I was called ‘bigot’ and ‘homo­phobe.’ I have vivid mem­o­ries of being really con­fused. I had never heard the term ‘homo­phobe’ before and I didn’t know what it meant. I was scared of gay peo­ple. My fam­ily and church just taught me that it was wrong. … Read full article.

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