LGBT Ethnic Committee Member Quits: Sterling Heights Loses
Despite taking a courageous stand against LGBT discrimination by publicly supporting the anti-LGBT discrimination ordinance (hence, “the ordinance”) in Sterling Heights and accepting a position on the city’s Ethnic Community, Julie Bondy apparently felt her efforts were in vain and announced her resignation from her appointed post today.
Citing being “called a dyke, sinner, unnatural, sick, immoral, freak, and many more derogatory statements by the Referendum Petition group”, Ms. Bondy tendered her resignation in an email sent out earlier this afternoon to a wide group of recipients.
Ms. Bondy also stated that a current candidate for Mayor, Paul Smith, singled her out for some particularly abusive treatment: “One of the individuals of this group (Paul Smith) even yelled at my 75 year old mother and told her that I am sick, she has nothing to be proud of, and I am worth $50K worth of bad advertising.”
When Bigotry Goes Unchecked
During the debate over the ordinance, City Council was subjected to what, in my mind, were the depraved ravings of people who cited their religion as an excuse for bigotry. They weren’t called on it by anyone from the religious community in Sterling Heights who could speak with authority on the teachings of Christianity. Rather, an attempt was made to mollify these folks by including exceptions in the ordinance designed to give religious institutions latitude to discriminate as they saw fit. A couple of ministers spoke during the debate; none of them preached the message of love and acceptance that my 16 years of religious education imparted to me as a youth.
What we have here is a travesty. Sterling Heights, in its attempt to ensure the rights and freedom for all, has instead quashed the freedoms of the very group it attempted to protect because the unethical lies and behavior of those who were against it went largely unchallenged. These lies were used to dupe an unsuspecting public into forcing a parliamentary procedure that had the net effect of usurping the right of the representative government to enact laws.
In other words, our elected government, the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, was effectively rendered ineffective because of the desires of less than one tenth of the electorate.
I don’t call that a victory for Sterling Heights. I call that a loss.
I was afraid this would happen
When all of this blew up yesterday, I sent a note of encouragement to Ms. Bondy. Why? Because I knew the pressures on her were real, and the challenge of fighting for what you believe in when it is not perceived as “popular” can seem insurmountable. Paul Smith and his ragtag group of cronies set out to destroy this woman because they didn’t like her. They see her as a threat to what they imagine is the “proper order” in our society, and so they found it acceptable to cite their religious beliefs while making every effort to smear her, insult her, and verbally abuse her.
Like all rational people, Ms. Bondy did a cost benefit analysis: would the community support her and make her efforts worthwhile, or wouldn’t they? If they supported her, would what she was fighting for be worthwhile?
Apparently she concluded the potential benefit, an LGBT protection ordinance that made exceptions for religious groups, was not worth the enormous psychological and physical costs of facing a fringe group of religious extremists that was willing to use tactics approaching violence to achieve their goals. I cannot blame her. These folks are the ISIS of Sterling Heights. They are beneath disdain for me. Who needs it?
What you should do
If you think that Sterling Heights residents of all types should be protected by law, it’s time to say so. Once again, the issue is going to come up on October 7, and if you feel this is important, you should be at City Council.
If you cannot attend the meeting (I may not be able to myself) the following folks need to hear your opinions on the issue:
Mayor Pro Tem Michael C. Taylor
Councilwoman Deanna Koski
Councilman Joseph V. Romano
Councilwoman Maria G. Schmidt
Councilman Doug Skrzyniarz
Councilwoman Barbara A. Ziarko
Ms. Bondy’s Letter
Reproduced below with names of the recipients redacted is a copy of Ms. Bondy’s email sent out this afternoon.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Julie Bondy
Date: Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 1:15 PM
Subject: Ethnic Community Committee
Hello Sterling Heights Ethnic Community Committee, Sterling Heights Mayor Pro Team, Sterling Heights City Council, One Sterling Heights, Members of the Media:
On August 6th of 2014, “Mayor Pro-Team Taylor recommended the appointment of Julie Bondy to the Ethnic Community Committee. Moved by Councilman Skrzniarz and seconded by Taylor.” I know that the entire Sterling Heights City Council was also behind me and supported this appointment. I agreed to take this role seriously because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to make a difference and help the children of Sterling Heights.
According to the City of Sterling Heights Boards & Commission Handbook, The Ethnic Community Committee function is, “The committee develops programs and activities that promote cultural diversity and understanding.”
Ethnic group is defined “a socially-defined category or people who identify with each member based on common ancestral, social, cultural or national experience. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by shared cultural heritage, ancestry, myth of origins, history, homeland, language, or even ideology, and manifests itself through symbolic systems.” According to this definition, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) group is considered an Ethnic Group, therefore, should be included in the Ethnic Community Committee.
Cultural diversity is defined “the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society”. Again, according to this definition, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) group is considered an Ethnic Group, therefore, should be included in the Ethnic Community Committee.
If you have been on this committee for any length of time, you should understand the definition and there should be no confusion whatsoever regarding the scope and mission of the group. Apparently, there was confusion with a few individuals.
My idea was to bring PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays www.pflag.org ) to our city to offer education and support groups for parents of LGBT in Sterling Heights. Their Mission: “PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons their families and friends through; support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.” If the parents are given an outlet, a support group, education, etc., they will be better equipped to understand their children and provide the necessary support to foster their emotional development appropriately. In addition, PFLAG of Macomb County wants to ensure there are specific bully programs, safe place plans, and other appropriate programs in the schools. I have copied them in this email as well for your future reference.
I also wanted to provide FAQs about the LGBT community, truths and untruths, and possible do’s and don’ts. We could have had an open meeting to the public to answer any non-sexual questions. All I wanted to do on this committee was to provide education, resources, support groups, and open communication.
During this whole process of trying to pass the Non Discrimination Ordinance in Sterling Heights, I have been personally attacked. I have handed out flyers, talked to business owners, spoke at city council meetings, spoke at county meeting, picketed at the library, been quoted by the press via paper and internet, and spoke at many more venues. I have been called a dyke, sinner, unnatural, sick, immoral, freak, and many more derogatory statements by the Referendum Petition group. One of the individuals of this group (Paul Smith) even yelled at my 75 year old mother and told her that I am sick, she has nothing to be proud of, and I am worth $50K worth of bad advertising. I have been physically pushed and blocked from talking to people while picketing. I have put myself through so much underserved anguish to be the voice of the voiceless.
I am hoping that through this process I have ignited a fire in many more who want to lead. I don’t have to prove anything to the Ethnic Community Committee, Paul Smith, the Referendum Petition group or anyone else. I am a true leader to whom it matters; myself and my son. My son, Mitchell Hintze, spoke off the cuff at a city council meeting during this ordinance “We are a race; the human race. And what did Bob Marley teach us? He told us this is One Love, and also, you have one life to live, and live on this earth, and to make it right, and to make it matter, no matter what. Because in the end, we are going to be judged by our actions, not if we are gay or straight or bi, but by whether we did right or whether we did wrong”. After this particular meeting, he walked up to a marine that spoke as well, who served 5 tours in Iraq, who happens to be transgender, and all Mitchell saw was a hero. THAT moment represented One Love. THAT is what the future is supposed to be. THAT represents what Sterling Heights needs to be.
So whether you believe you won or you lost, it does not matter to me. I do not wish to participate in any group that does not believe in progressing as a society; who does not believe in educating our children; or who does not believe in providing a safe and accepting environment for our children to grow, play, learn, work, and live. I don’t want to be hushed, patronized, or forced upon any committee. My fight for LGBT equal rights in Sterling Heights has taken its course, it is time for others to help lead, and time for me put my focus where it is desperately needed; homeless children.
If you still wish to carry out my original ideas, please contact PFLAG of Macomb County at PFLAG.CT@gmail.com
I am representing myself in this email, not Chrysler. I will follow this email up with the appropriate resignation letter.
Julie A. Bondy
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” – Helen Keller