Letters to the Editor

Mississippi's guests deserve hospitality, not bigotry

The "Nowhere to turn for LGBT people who face discrimination" (May 1) article about a transgender veteran who was denied a job simply for being transgender broke my heart.

You see, I have a relative who is transgender, and the article made me realize that once HB 1523 goes into effect, I will no longer be able to invite a member of my extended family to come visit.

If my relative chooses to come visit, we will welcome them with open arms, but I could not, in good conscience, invite my relative to come.

Why not?

Well, imagine this: My relative flies into Mississippi and tries to rent a car and is met with "Sorry, my religious beliefs will not allow me to serve a transgender person, and there is no one else here, so you cannot rent a car."

Trying to rent a hotel room will also cause problems.

The desk clerk's religious beliefs may not allow them to serve a transgender person, and neither does the manager's, so they won't be able to rent a room.

The next obstacle may be going to a diner for something to eat -- the employees' religious beliefs could prevent my relative from ordering a meal.

Sure, this may all be a bit of a stretch, but after HB 1523 takes full effect, it will all be perfectly legal in Mississippi.

I have lived in Mississippi for nearly 32 years.

It is home, and I am proud of our Southern hospitality, but an ill-considered law means a member of my own family may be subjected to bigotry instead of greeted with hospitality.

And that breaks my heart, too.

DOUGLAS MacCULLAGH

Long Beach

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