Photo from The Sun Herald
The core of TomboyX is inclusiveness. All people, no matter their color, size, gender identity, age, or sexual orientation should be celebrated. Our diverse customers are the foundation of what we love about this brand.
We are very disappointed with the passage of Mississippi House Bill 1523. This bill allows not just businesses, but also individuals who provide services such as counseling and medical care to deny service to people who are LGBT, or engage in extra-marital relationships. This bill legalizes discrimination. We are speaking out against it and also expressing our support and love for our customers and all the citizens of Mississippi. This injustice especially hurts because our co-founder and CEO, Fran Dunaway, has family and roots in Mississippi.
Another woman felt the same—Susan Guice. Susan is not a part of the LGBT community. She has never organized a protest, or even participated in one for that matter. But, she understands when it is the moment to stand for what is right. This was her moment. We had a chance to speak with Susan and learn about the protest she organized in Biloxi last week. It garnered media attention and the beginning of more to come.
First off, are you from Mississippi?
No, I grew up in East Texas, but have been here since 1982. My husband's family has always been very active in the community and government. I am not a legal expert or politician. Just a person. I know what is right and wrong.
How did you became involved in fighting this bill?
I returned from spring break with my son, Breton. He is 9-years-old. I heard something about it in the news and thought, "Come on, we can do better than that." We in Mississippi already have a negative reputation on some topics. This only makes matters worse. I also realized I needed to teach my son that he needs to learn to stand up for things that we think are right. When I asked him what he thought about gay and lesbian people not being able to use a certain bathroom or dine in a certain restaurant, he just didn't understand it. So, we decided to protest about it. I have never been to a protest in my life. Problem is there was no protest. No one was doing it. So, I organized it myself. This is basic humanity. It had to be done. It is a moral and spiritual thing to me. The state and business are going to be hurt financially, but that is not the real issue. I was raised as a Christian. One thing I know as a Christian is that God loves everybody.
How did the protest go?
I talked to my son and told him I think it was important to take to the streets. Even if it was just him and me, that is OK. We may get harassed or yelled at. We wanted the rest of the country to know this is not all of Mississippi. We don't agree with this. I am confident it will be overturned eventually. I realized how painful it must be to be treated that way. To have someone hate you for who you are. That is not our southern values. All in all, about 100 people came out. with just 24 hours notice. I was scared at first, but it went well. All kinds of people participated. Gay and straight. Young and old. Even some of Breton's friends came.
I want a march with 1000 people. I'd love some help, since I am new to organizing. But my heart is in it.
We believe it's passionate individuals like Susan who CAN make a difference. We stand with her and all the people of Mississippi. We encourage all to speak out until it is reversed.