Guest post written by Brian Splater
No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.
The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.
Moving to a small, rural and red community my husband and I knew there could still be many barriers in our process of wanting to have kids someday. A community of 2,000 is always harder for gay people than a community of 200,000 people. I always have said it is because they lack the education and experiences surrounding the different types of people who exist in this world. Even with this it was not going to prevent us from adopting two beautiful kids.
After being together for five years we decided it was time to adopt a child of our own. Little did we know we would be chosen for an adoption and we would get to adopt two children instead of one. My great-niece and my great-nephew had been in and out of foster care and taken away from their biological parents from the time they were born. Once our children's biological parents had their rights taken away from the state, we knew we had to step in and stop this pattern in their lives.
There are many feelings and emotions that go into bringing in two children into your home. Besides the unknowns that exist, we weren't going to allow the cowardly acts and the homophobic people from preventing this from happening.
It is amazing how two kids can make a difference in your lives. They have taught us what is truly important, never to sweat the small stuff, and never worry about the negativity others wish to shine down on us. They keep us grounded in the present and they make us realize it isn't the monetary or material things that are important, those things will never provide for complete happiness in one's life as two children will. Most importantly, they made us realize we must never hide from who we are as humans.
Being gay dads is an opportunity to stand up to the bullies who believe being gay is unnatural. Or that gays should never be able to adopt. It's an opportunity to be role models for our youth. It's also an opportunity to raise our children against stigma, judgment and other negativity that still lives in our world just because of a person's sexual orientation.
One of the most amazing things about being a gay dad is how it has helped us in being a real strength to our children because we show them how to overcome adversity. It's because people who are gay have experienced enough judgment, abuse and other negativity throughout their lives to know how to educate their children when they witness or come face to face with people being treated unfairly.
All of this is something we still face today. In Superior, a town of just 2,000 people, in south central Nebraska, we have our own mayor and council members who love to sit behind their phones and computer screens and bully other people just because of a person's sexual orientation.
I have always believed that if you don't like policy or if you want change, one should either run for public office or they should join organizations that lobby in their beliefs. I did just that. Back in early 2018 I decided and announced that I would run for Mayor. For months I had been testing these waters. After this I quietly started putting my grass roots campaign together.
Because it took me some time to really come to a final answer if I should run, I missed the deadline to get on the ballot. I registered as a write-in. Once our Mayor, and our council members knew of my candidacy and once they knew the threat I was, the combativeness, hate, lies and the threats began.
I would never have dreamed of the tactics that were bowed to as I ran for Mayor. I had the Mayor have our own police try and intimidate me and my family. She, and council members, had our Utilities Manager, City Planner and our Economic Development Director attack me (from behind the scenes) and spread their imaginative and corrupt images about myself and my family. They also cornered, harassed daily and pushed our Chamber Manager out because of her support for me. Since, they have kicked people off of varying boards who supported me for Mayor.
In the end, just living in Superior for five years, I almost beat an incumbent of 12 years. I almost beat someone who had the last name and the married last name (her husband had been our County Attorney). Add in that I was gay and that we adopted two children, my supporters truly believed we started something good in our City and in our entire area. I had 315 write-ins to her 385 being on the ballot. Out of three Wards, I won Ward I and she only barely won Ward II.
Fast forward and for the past several months we have had Councilmen Disney, Peterson and Flores (who was appointed by this Mayor) continue their attacks against the LGBTQ community. To have these people say the LGBTQ community has a mental illness, that transgender is a made up work, having gays adopt kids is pushing our gay agenda on them, that we should have our plumbing checked out, that it's only political correctness for our equality and so many more of their ignorant statements; none of it will stand in the way of how we live our lives and it won't stand in the way of how we educate our children.
Sadly, all three of these elected officials work for our only hospital in Superior, Brodstone Memorial Hospital. They continue to preach and disperse their hate of gays and the transgender community. They continue to do this because this hospital seems to turn a blind eye and rather not answer an email I sent to the administrator back in March 2019.
For our two beautiful children's sake we will not rest until action is taken against these elected officials, who some are even EMT's
Hate is very real and it is corrosive. A person's ignorance and deep bitterness often turns their hate into a hate crime. Hate breeds and it turns into targeting and violence. It can also cause serious harm and even death to the LGBTQ community.
For us, disarming hate should be on every resident of Superior's mind, not allowing this vicious cycle to continue. Superior is filled with kindness and compassion. It is overwhelmingly filled with residents who are hardworking and who respect one another. Unfortunately, the few can cause so much embarrassment, distress and outright shame for the rest of Superior. And that is happening as we speak.
Superior is better than allowing the likes of Rick Disney (Ward III) and Peterson (Ward I) to corrupt it. Superior is better than allowing a Mayor, who protects these people, and openly says "we must stick together…against these people," in open meetings. Superior is BETTER when they DENY members of management in allowing these homophobic and haters to continue spewing their hate in the hallways of places where the LGBTQ community MUST go for healthcare services and emergencies.