From Davis Hammett, a Kansas LGBT activist in Kansas via Facebook:
Year 2013: I’m a 22 year old queer who moves to Kansas to paint a rainbow house across from a notorious hate group. I realize the politicians here are more dangerous than the hate group; however, the people seem nothing like the politics that dominate. I start to really like Kansas. My boss asks me when I’m coming back to New York since this project was suppose to only be a few months. I tell him “I think I live in Kansas now.”
2014: The most extreme right-wing one-sided government in KS history is elected.
2015: Brownback rescinds LGBTQ protections by executive order making it legal to fire and harass LGBTQ state workers. The KS government increasingly uses prejudice and scapegoating to distract from their failing economic experiment. In response, we organize the largest protest in many years. I get messages from gay state workers who are scared for their safety and future. Kansas is a very dark place in this moment… A Senator walks by me in the Statehouse and softly mentions how wrong the attacks on the LGBTQ community are.
2016: I leave LGBTQ activism to devote myself completely to voter registration and turnout. I’m convinced that if more young Kansans voted things would be different.
2017: 1/3 of the KS legislature is newly elected as a rebuke to Brownback. The first week of session they are greeted by over a thousand Kansans screaming “Whose House? Our House.” We’ve united different groups under a Kansas People’s Agenda demanding change. The Legislature starts to turn things around and activism is growing. The Brownback Experiment is repealed… Some random lady messages me saying she wants to talk about the future of Kansas. She’s pretty great.
2018: That random lady, Sharice Davids, is elected the first LGBTQ Congressperson from Kansas. She gives a victory speech surrounded by LGBTQ youth. I’m overwhelmed thinking back to how most my life I thought accepting my sexuality meant forfeiting my future. The same night Brandon Woodard and Susan Ruiz are elected the first LGBTQ Kansas State Representatives.
2019: The Senator who softly spoke words of solidarity to me in 2015, Laura Kelly, is the Governor and her first executive order is restoring LGBTQ protections to state workers.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing happens by accident.
Every drop of decency is fought for.