ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – When I arrived in Orlando, 25 years ago, I was a closeted conservative man living in a straight world. I just happened to be gay. It wasn’t the easiest of times to live your true life. In the years following, I would hear the far right opinions of John Stemberger via his veil of the Florida Family Council. Loosely translated, it appeared to be an organization that felt members of the LGBTQ community were harmful to our world. The ultimate sinners. Stemberger time and time again attacked literally every equality measure in the LGBTQ community from healthcare to same sex marriage. Yet, fortunately what was right always prevailed.
This week, as a result of Florida State Senator Joe Gruters filing a bill for workplace protection for the LGBTQ community, Stemberger crawled out from under a rock to ask for the resignation of the newly elected Republican Party of Florida Chairman who happens to also be a Florida State Senator. A person I worked with during the 2016 Trump campaign and someone whom I hold in high regard. Well, NOT SO FAST STEMY… You see….that closeted man that feared the likes of the far right 25 years ago has come a long way baby. And I don’t live in fear anymore. If I, as an openly gay conservative, can help with any issue related to this bill on behalf of the LGBTQ community regarding workplace protection I will. You see, gay people just happen to be gay, it doesn’t define them.
WAKE UP. It’s 2019. Not 1993.
The days of the LGBTQ community being seen as 2nd class citizens are far behind us. In the past 25 years I’ve seen gay people rise to positions of influence in politics and business…it’s actually quite impressive. And unlike what Stemberger preaches…the whole world hasn’t turned gay. That said, I’m not “that guy” that runs around with a rainbow flag. I prefer we operate autonomously and live, work and grow in communities together. But that doesn’t mean I condemn those who are more open or expressive. Unfortunately, Stemberger thinks firing someone because of the sexual orientation is ok. Does that mean then that an LGBTQ business owner can fire someone just because they are straight? Stemberger’s extreme views have never worked in the past and certainly will not work here.
In the bill Gruters is sponsoring (click here to read the bill) Gruters has accomplished something Washington could learn from…he’s identified a nonpartisan approach on a common sense issue to work with both sides of the political aisle to do what is right. How refreshing is that?
I am the first to say that often the LGBTQ community all but hijacks issues that seem more opportunistic than relevant. Like race or abortion, as an example. However, this is not one of those times. No one, despite race, gender or sexual orientation, should be potentially terminated from employment for who they are. In 2019…that’s just silly.
I promise you this, I will utilize every platform in my wheelhouse, every contact I have made, every fiber of my being to work on behalf of the LGBTQ community to support this bill. Not because I’m gay, but because it’s right! And when something is right, God takes your hand and helps you find the way.
Randy Ross is an openly Gay Republican that ran the 2016 Orange County for Trump campaign, remains a highly engaged activist on behalf of the President and consults on Government and Community activism initiatives. Ross is a community organizer, and most recently led the charge to organize relief efforts for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico topping 2 million pounds of aid.