A person same as you

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I'm a 23-year-old university student, a Latter-day Saint and a lesbian. I consider myself extremely lucky to live in Salt Lake City, where I'm protected by the city's anti-discrimination ordinance for housing and employment. And I'm fortunate to attend a university and work for a company that accept my orientation.

But what if I moved to Orem or Layton? Without a statewide ban on discrimination against gays, I will effectively be forced back into the closet for fear that my new employer or landlord won't be as accepting.

I'm not asking people to accept my orientation or to validate my relationships. I'm not petitioning for Utah to lift its ban on same-sex marriage (though I hope that day will come). I simply want to be protected from losing my job, or my home, while keeping my authenticity.

There are many people like me. Maybe your son or daughter. Maybe your best friend or neighbor. Maybe the quiet woman in your ward who sits by herself. Or maybe even your employee or tenant.

I am the same as you. It's time that I am treated with the same respect.

Ellen Koester

Salt Lake City