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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Growing up gay in Idaho was difficult,’ ‘There’s people being hurt,’ ‘Dignity and respect’

Steve Martin of Boise testifies in favor of HB 2, the
Steve Martin of Boise testifies in favor of HB 2, the "Add the Words" bill, on Wednesday morning (Betsy Russell)

More testimony this morning on HB 2:

Steve Martin of Boise told the committee, “I did not choose to be gay. … I can tell you that growing up gay in Idaho was difficult. I was always afraid.” He asked the lawmakers to pass HB 2 to protect him and his husband of 20 years. “You as our state leaders need to pass this bill to send a message that discrimination against anyone … is wrong. ... All of us deserve the opportunity to earn a living, to provide for ourselves and our families without fear of being denied housing, being fired, or being refused service at a business because of who we are. … We all deserve the right to live our lives openly, safely and genuinely.”

Aiden Warrior said, “Being transgender from female to male, I’ve been judged harshly every day. My biggest critic was me.” His voice breaking, he said, “There’s people being hurt and we’re dying. Please don’t let someone hurt the people I love. I’m outing myself so you can protect them. ... Transgender people are notorious for getting bladder infections; this is because we’re terrified of using the public restrooms. .. .The locker room, I’m there to change and leave, nobody’s ever noticed me.”

Emily Van Hise, canon pastor at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, said, “Of course we know that we cannot legislate kindness and love, but we can pass legislation that tells the citizens of our state in no uncertain terms that we in Idaho will not stand for treating any of our citizens, or even any of our visitors, with anything less than the dignity and respect Christ showed the people that he encountered.” 

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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