My most formative years were spent in the suburban Chicago-land area. Our subdivision was an island among sea of cornfields. The high school from which I graduated in the late ’80’s would have won no awards for diversity. And if, at that time, you were my age and knew your sexual orientation was anything other than straight, you probably kept it to yourself. The three-letter slur we freely bandied about at that time to denigrate homosexuality is harsh enough now that if I hear it, I cringe.
As fate would have it, in my late teens, I moved out to Hollywood to pursue a career in music and it didn’t take long until I was exposed to others who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and who also happened to be wonderful people. They were my co-workers and my friends. They were damned talented musicians and artists and in the blink of an eye, I was forced to see the world very differently.
Just over my lifetime, I can observe and marvel at the increased ability by which LGBTQ individuals are able to express their sexual orientation. Like with other efforts to expand human rights, equality, dignity and freedom, we are far from perfect. But we have made unmistakable progress and many minds have opened. We have had openly gay politicians and legal gay marriage in many states, including California. And this trend shows, thankfully and with my full support, no intention of slowing down. I will never imply to my young son that any discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation or other cannot be lessened and, hopefully, eradicated over the course of his lifetime. We know when the drum beats loud enough, when the water builds so high behind the dam, no army can stop an idea whose time has come, to quote Victor Hugo.
I am not a member of the LGBTQ community myself, but I am out and proud to support their cause. Our doors are open and we welcome them and their partners into our business. We can offer not only great financial products and service, but a place where they will face absolutely no discrimination or prejudice and an overabundance of due confidentiality and privacy when and where required. While I am optimistic enough about the future in our nation and our ability to pursue and prevail with equal rights for all, I am realistic enough to know it’s not OK to be silent about these matters any longer.
Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending
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