Guntersville City Council Speech by Gary Wright II March 15th, 2021

Guntersville, AL - After Guntersville City Councilman Randy Whitaker posted an anti-LGBTQ t-shirt photo to his social media, LGBTQ activist Gary Wright II gave a two minute speech before the council addressing the issue: 🏳️‍🌈

The video is available here: https://storage.googleapis.com/media.cleverthings.net/video/Gary-Wright/Alabama/GuntersvilleCityCouncil-20210315-Gary-Speech.mp4

Good evening Mayor Dollar and City Council Members,

My name is Gary Wright, and I’m a resident of Marshall County. I was one of the Alabama marriage equality plaintiffs, and for over two decades I’ve been working on issues that affect the LGBTQ community in our state and beyond. So I’d like to make a brief statement in regards to the shirt that Councilman Randy Whitaker recently posted to social media.

Through his wife’s Facebook page, Councilman Whitaker says he “has friends and family members who are gay” which is not surprising because despite what his novelty t-shirt says, LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer and we represent over 10% of the population.

Because of the hatred that has been spewed from public podiums over the past few years, hate crimes are up across-the-board. What you do and say reverberate throughout the community. Not just in fostering hatred, but often resulting in self-harm by our most vulnerable communities. In young people age 10-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death. LGB youth contemplate suicide three times the rate of heterosexual youth, and are five times as likely to attempt it. 40% of transgender adults have made a suicide attempt. Each episode of LGBTQ victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse increases the likelihood of self-harm by 2-1/2 times.

Source: TheTrevorProject.org

While the social media posts and words spoken by our leaders are important, I’m much more concerned about what is posted in their hearts and the harmful actions they take. So I urge each of you to examine your heart, and if you’re unable or unwilling to treat everyone with the dignity and equality that they deserve, it’s time for you to resign from public office.

Thank you for your time and attention,
Gary Wright II

Note: There were microphone problems, so I removed my double face mask at the podium just before this video starts.

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