Tonei Glavinic

Anchorage | DC | Chicago | Oakland | Mexico City

Remarks for the Assembly regarding the proposed antidiscrimination ordinance

Remarks prepared for the Anchorage Assembly, June 9, 2009

Good evening. My name is Tonei Glavinic, I'm a lifelong Anchorage resident, and I live in Assembly District 5.

I graduated from Steller Secondary School in 2008, and now attend American University in Washington DC.

Part of the reason I chose to go there is because American University and the District of Columbia are very protective and supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. I feel safe, respected, and valued there, because I know that my school and the city around it will be there for me if I am harassed or discriminated against because of my sexual orientation or gender identity.

I don't know that here. I love Anchorage - it's a beautiful place with lots of opportunities. But it doesn't have laws to protect me. I'm in the process of finding a summer job right now, and if someone decides to discriminate against me because of who I am, I can't do anything about it.

When I was in high school, I was involved with Anchorage Youth Court, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Alaska Teen Media Institute, and a number of other local organizations. Many of the other LGBT youth I know are the same way – they're some of the most involved students in their schools and communities. Anchorage needs bright, motivated young people like us, but right now you're telling us that you don't want us here. So we leave, for cities that /are/ willing to stand up for our rights.

I don't think we want to be known as a city where you can be legally discriminated against because of who you are or who you love. That's what we're saying right now, but you can change this. Passing this ordinance with the suggested amendments will tell me and my peers that you do want us here, devoting our energy and passion to making Anchorage a better place. Without it, you're going to just keep watching us leave and never come back.

Thank you.