Reputations are everything in important matters usually. Trust in agreements like supporting town Volunteer Fire Departments to local festivals, choral and stage events. Events that bring tourists and money in to your communities.
Funny thing though about reputations is that they are hard to earn and easy to lose. Part of our identity can be stolen or "lost" because of "mistakes"....or intentionally?
Recently I read your News Review headline story from Nov. 7 that read "Court records: Men fractured victim's nose during assault." This Corvallis bias "hate crime" against a Transgender woman working in Corvallis made local, state and national attention. If you haven't read this story please do.
People are reading this sordid and seemingly hate-filled story from afar about your community; one that you care for and about. They might not be remembering Dylan, Riley and Kyle as only bad actors.
Unfortunately, for all of us who live in Douglas County, what readers likely will remember is that Roseburg, Myrtle Creek and Sutherlin are their homes. These are the places where these attitudes of possible intolerance and some danger to marginalized communities may be ascribed.
That hurts our reputations and honor of the good and wondrous civic, compassionate and community works that define all your places of residence here somewhere in Douglas County. Douglas County's reputation likely takes a hit from stories like this.
A list of questions to ponder for all of us in this Umpqua Basin. How is tolerance practiced or taught in your communities? Do you have any policies or programs for transgender or the larger LGBTQ+ community in your town policy or in your local schools sports or activities programs?
Do you teach tolerance or the history of any marginalized group?
What motivates hate crimes is usually misunderstanding and fear. As a member of the Transgender Community, I would volunteer to speak to your town councils or school boards about TG or LQBTQ+ issues (and maybe bring along some friends too) or other concerns you may have about our "TG or LGBTQ+ community." Perhaps we can be more visible and less threatening to you when you know us as fellow citizens here in Douglas County. We are here already. Always have been.
Alanna J. Baumann