Prizm News / August 5, 2019 / By Ken Schneck

When I offhandedly hear that someone has placed the blame for a national tragedy at the feet of the LGBTQ+ community, I usually just roll my eyes. Rarely do I care about the desperate ravings of some random televangelist (not my faith) or far-away elected dogcatcher (not my community). 

Then yesterday, as I was waded knee-deep through the grief and fear that accompany the reality of horror of dozens of lights extinguished by gun violence, I read that Ohio State Representative Candice Keller (R – Middletown) posted some deep, nuanced reflections on her Facebook page: 

“After every mass shooting, the liberals start the blame game. Why not place the blame where it belongs? The breakdown of the traditional American family (thank you, transgender, homosexual marriage, and drag queen advocates)”.

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Her well-researched, not-at-all-annotated dissertation goes on to single out other causes of blame including video games, professional athletes (y’know, the ones who kneel), snowflakes, and, of course, President Obama.  

My first thoughts: Whatever. In the scope of a country that can’t seem to figure out how to legislate weapons of mass destruction available next to the funnel cakes at your local State Fair, the drivel from this woman shouldn’t matter.

But the words of Representative Candice Keller do matter, as much in a time of tragedy as they do when we’re not usually listening. Her words stoke fear, that the LGBTQ+ community has destroyed traditions. Her words create alienation, that the LGBTQ+ community is a thing apart from the concept of family. And her words incite retribution, that the LGBTQ+ community poses a threat to safety. 

Representative Candice Keller is not a televangelist. Representative Candice Keller is not a far-away dogcatcher. She is an elected official here in the state of Ohio. And her demeaning and dangerous words should not go unaddressed. 

Contact her to let her know how her words affect you as an LGBTQ+ Ohioan. Speak to your friends and family who live in her district and who might one day be asked to vote for her (or her opponent). And stand tall in your own identity. LGBTQ+ individuals bear not one iota of blame for the horrors inflicted upon our siblings in Dayton. To imply otherwise would be unacceptable from the lowliest bigot, much less from an Ohio State Representative.