Straight Allies in Asheville

When progressive activists Frank and Margaret Adams learned that we were going to present on marriage equality at Highlander’s 75th Anniversary outside of Knoxville, TN, they insisted that we come to their home town of Asheville, NC and do a reading and presentation. Frank, a former director of Highlander, and Margaret, both in their 70’s know what struggles for equality look like and they have always been ready to become involved. Agitating and organizing against economic, racial, environmental, you-name-it discrimination  are part of their daily lives–have been for years. Now they are allies for marriage equality. 

In Frank Adams’ 1975 book Unearthing Seeds of Fire (now in its fifth printing), he shares compelling stories of the work of allies in struggles for justice–the motivating force of Highlander. Now he and Margaret are unearthing other seeds of fire in this struggle for marriage equality. They are motivated by a deep appreciation of  what Frank calls “freedom’s joy.”

What many LGBT people in the marriage equality movement do not understand is how many allies we have in the straight community around the country. The compelling factor for most of these allies is knowing someone in the LGBT community.  Frank and Margaret know many LGBT people, but others sometimes know only their child or their co-worker or their friend. In Courting Equality, a woman holds a sign that reads, “My Son Is Not a Second-Class Citizen.” Few legislators in Massachusetts argued with that. That mother’s activism and the activism of others in Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) held great sway with our legislators.

The important step for those of us striving for gay marriage equality is to come out. Very old concept. Very effective strategy. We have many straight allies in Asheville, NC,and we have many committed LGBT people who are building alliances. On September 5th over 60 people came out to Malaprop’s Books to learn about Courting Equality. At least six ministers were in the audience, three of them straight. These allies are critical to our achieving full equality.

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