Freedom & Independence

The 4th of July 2019 is recently behind us, with both pomp & circumstance and heated political debates from sea to shining sea. Have you considered your definition of “freedom” lately? In the United States, we tout the holiday as our Independence Day. These are the two words for your consideration in this edition. (Brief U.S. history lesson included free of charge. You’re welcome.)

Many different populations, cultures, and religions have fought for their freedom and independence throughout our country’s history. How is it in the year 2019 in the USA that some are not given the “inalienable right” to be treated equally? July 4, 1776 was the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which included the words “Where all men are created equal.” Are we all men? Are we all created equally? NOPE!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  (Link to the actual Declaration of Independence — cool, huh?)

There are some really basic tenets of freedom that most people take for granted. For example, I’m seriously afraid for those LGBT+ friends who can be fired from a job because of who they love or how they identify…yep, that can still happen in 26 of our 50 states. (For my Sconie friends, here’s Wisconsin’s Equality Profile.) This might change in October, especially for Americans who identify as transgender, if the US Supreme Court sways to the conservative side of the aisle. (Yikes)

My wife, Angela, and I wanted to wait to get married until it was legal in all 50 states. So, on January 11, 2017, we did get married. (Yay us! Hope we didn’t cause a ripple in the marriages of all of the straight people!) Yet we still worry about our freedoms and our independence according to the law.

For example, can I make medical decisions for her in the hospital without a physical copy of our marriage certificate? We’ve been told it would be best to have a copy on file at the hospital. Or at least with our lawyer since Angela travels so much for work and she could be anywhere in the country and in need of proof of marriage. Which of course means we both a) have to have a lawyer; and b) Have to have that number programmed as a priority in our phones should the unthinkable happen. Evidently the rings on our fingers don’t mean the same as they do for a straight couple.

I recently tried to make her an appointment with our doctor. I was asked for her birth date and had to wait for the clearance to be able to speak on her behalf. I get HIPPA laws, yet I still wondered how long I would have waited if I was part of a “traditional” married couple? The first amendment allows me the freedom of speech, but is my speech equal to that of the haters? The term wife means something different if we are of the same sex.

Next week we will delve into the LGBTQIA resources A-Z that are most frequently asked. Thanks for reading this and for being an ally. #SpreadPrideSaveLives. Please pay attention to the freedoms you currently have. If you see an injustice in the workplace or in your community, please say something. Your voice will help those with no voice. Please feel free to add a comment on how you are changing your corner of the world!


~Lisa (Lady Rainbow)

Published by Lisa Koenecke

An award-winning motivational speaker looking to help you succeed! Lisa is a proven collaborative leader and systems change advocate. She grew up on a farm and spent 20 summers as a camp director for both the YMCA and the Girl Scouts. After receiving her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, she has been a middle and high school counselor for 12 years. She is the Past President of the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and has served on the American School Counselor Association Board of Directors. Currently, Lisa is an Adjunct Instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of counselors.

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