PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Last year, we reported that a national civil-rights organization ranked Parkersburg last among seven West Virginia cities for policies regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion. But on Thursday, a national presenter on LGBTQ, civil rights & equality came to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Greg Baird came to West Virginia University at Parkersburg to speak to students and the public in the theater on campus. He discussed the presence of hate and bigotry in communities, schools, workplaces and on the internet.
Baird says this was his first time he's been to the state of West Virginia and while it's a beautiful state and the people are kind; he spoke about how the state does not have laws against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation in categories such as employment, hate crimes, bullying in school, education or transgender health care.
"I was surprised because of all of the places I've spoke at, at least there's something where there's nondiscrimination policies happening. And West Virginia hit every single one, there's discrimination across the board.” Says Baird. “So my hope is that they are going to take the information they got today, maybe not all of it, maybe parts of it and share it with other family members, other community members, their children, or maybe look inside themselves and say you know what I've been doing this for a long time. " he added.
The college's social justice committee hosted the presentation as part of an awareness program with the theme, "building inclusive communities."