WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –
Nolin Christensen spends most of his time working at The Center, a safe space for Wichita’s LGBTQ.
When he heard the Human Rights Campaign released another report showing that Kansas is failing to protect the LGBTQ community, sadly he wasn’t surprised.
"It’s very disheartening,” said Christensen, who’s the treasurer of the organization. “We’ve been scoring low for a number of years."
So low, the report says the state isn’t even achieving basic equality.
An unfortunate but powerful reminder for Christensen that although things are better since he came out as gay years ago, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
"I came out back when people were being killed,” he said. “I lost my job because of who I was. I was thrown out of housing because of who I was."
The Center along with its sister organization Equality Kansas have been fighting to get legislation passed.
"Right now, we are looking forward to hearings at some point this session on bills that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to our state’s nondiscrimination laws, bills that would strengthen school bullying prevention policies, and bills that would ban conversion therapy,” said Tom Witt, Equality Kansas Executive Director.
Last month, governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order reinstating the protections for LGBT workers that were eliminated by Brownback in 2015.
And while the fight continues, advocates warn: the real lesson starts at home.
“Parents need to teach their children don’t discriminate, to care for everybody, to have empathy,” said Christensen. “Kids don’t know hate; they learn hate."
For more information, visit the following links: The Center, Equality Kansas