Personal reflections in support of

Fellowship member Sarah McGreer Hoyt offers some personal reflections in support of, raising funds to support the fight for recognition of legal same-sex unions in the state of Kansas.

I met Rev Michael Nelson in August 2000. We were both students in a graduate creative writing workshop at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he received his master’s degree. I remember him as a calm presence who radiated energy during workshop, and I enjoyed being around him for those four months of the semester. After that, I did not see him again for almost a dozen years.

In June 2012, I came to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Manhattan. I was looking for a community outside of my work, one that espouses respect for many walks of life and a diversity of beliefs. I was pleased to see many of my neighbors, professors from around campus, and graduate students among the congregation, yet it took me a few weeks to realize that Michael, this ebullient spirit and eloquent speaker, was my classmate from years ago.

I have been blessed to hear his sermons on everything from building community to water conservation to finding and celebrating joy, and he is one of the primary reasons I became a member of UUFM a year after I first attended.

On November 10, The Manhattan Mercury ran an engagement announcement for Michael Nelson and his partner, Charles Dedmon. It began, “After almost 30 years of careful consideration, Michael Nelson and Charles Dedmon, both of rural Alma, announce their engagement.” Thirty years.

Three years ago, I signed up to be a mentor through K-State’s Guide to Personal Success (GPS) Program. While filling out the paperwork, under “Other,” I entered “LGBT friendly.” I was paired with Will. At the time, Will, who is transgender, had just arrived on campus as a freshman after coming out to his immediate family. He had never presented as male in all of his 18 years.

Since then, he’s changed his name, his appearance, has found academic success, worked as a teaching assistant, and found a close circle of friends. When we met for coffee before Christmas, he shyly told me that he’s dating. In fact, he has a partner.

I support All’s Fair Kansas for my LGBT friends, neighbors, and co-workers. For Michael. And for Will. Knowing them has enriched my life. What kind of person would I be if I did not wish them and their partners the same happiness, love, and equal rights?

It’s only fair.

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