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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘You know kids like me,’ ‘A matter of safety for all Idahoans’

More testimony from tonight’s hearing on HB 2, the anti-discrimination bill regarding sexual orientation and gender identity:

Chelsea Lincoln said, “I stand before you as a proud member of the community that is being personally affected by the passage of this legislation. I grew up on a dairy farm in Wilder, Idaho. … You know kids like me. You’ve grown up with kids like me. You are currently raising kids like me.” Her stepdad, David Lincoln, also testified in favor of the bill, just before her; he is the District 11 chairman for the Idaho Republican Party. “For any citizen of Idaho to be afraid to speak on this issue … is unacceptable to me,” he told the lawmakers. He said it’s not a partisan issue.

Phillip Grover of Twin Falls said, “I just am compelled to make this comment about all bathroom talk: Those folks had better not go to France or Germany. … Men and women come out of the stall and use the sink, it’s very common. It’s disconcerting, but none of those people have collapsed or been struck by lightning.” Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, responded amid laughter, “I have no desire to go to France.” Grover said he’s a clinical psychologist and spent his career working in the Idaho mental health system. He said “many LGBTQ individuals” develop depression when they’re told again and again that they shouldn’t be the way they are. “People talk about homosexuality being a choice,” Grover said. He said he’s interviewed hundreds of patients, both for therapy and research, and has never met one who said he or she chose to be homosexual.

Maryanne Jordan, Boise City Council president, said, "This bill is a matter of safety for all Idahoans. Three years ago, I was approached by a group of citizens who had experienced significant discrimination." They had been attacked and beaten for their sexual orientation, she said, and were afraid to report the crimes. They thought, she said, if they reported the crimes, "They would be outed and lose their jobs. ... No citizen in Idaho should be afraid to call for help if they need it because they fear for the loss of their job or housing." Jordan said since Boise passed its non-discrimination ordinance, "We've only had a few complaints in the city - not none, a few." The process, she said, encourages cooperative discussion and resolution to the problem, without the matter going public. The business community was among the biggest supporters of the ordinance, she said, noting that the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce has endorsed HB 2.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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