LGBT leaders for I-1000
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LGBT leaders for I-1000
by Rep. Jamie Pedersen, Don Moreland, Rep. Jim Moeller, and Phil Bereano - Special to the SGN

Why should LGBT people support I-1000? The reasons are as fundamental as the core of our very beings.

The public and personal histories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are all about recognizing our true identities and conducting autonomous lives characterized by the freedom to choose who we are, who we want to be, whom we love and how we express that love.

Nothing is more profound than issues of life and death. The LGBT community has been in the vanguard of social struggles around both of these passages. Gay men and Lesbians are choosing to adopt, use surrogacy or inseminate, and we are raising thousands of healthy new lives. In response to the plague of AIDS, we expanded the rights of terminally ill and created new pubic institutions to serve them. This was an assertion of our belief in autonomy for our loved ones.

Despite antiquated laws, we helped our brothers and sisters realize their wishes to end the intolerable suffering of AIDS and cancer. The underground activities of many helped create dignified options for those facing unimaginable despair and pain. This is part of our historical reality, and now we want to make the option of aid in dying available to everyone in Washington.

The Death with Dignity initiative, I-1000, reflects the experience of our community. We know that this experience has been overwhelmingly successful. The noble expression of autonomy and the freedom of choice reflect none of the fearful consequences conjured up by the opponents of I-1000.

Today, LGBT youth can choose to join clubs in high school and bring same-sex dates to their prom. Adult LGBT people can freely express their sexual identities without legal hassles and form lasting unions and even marriages in increasing numbers of jurisdictions. The aging LGBT population is experimenting with retirement communities and legal documents to assure that they get to leave their property to whomever they choose. Should we only be allowed autonomy and freedom of choice when we are healthy? No. We need to protect these values in illness and impending death as well.

For all of these reasons, the LGBT community supports I-1000 and death with dignity.