More than a decade ago, Eric Lueshen did the unthinkable at a Division I school. He walked out on to the football field as an out gay player. It was 2003. And it was at the University of Nebraska, a heavyweight in college football. No other player at a major university had done that.
Dallas Voice interviewed Lueshen and published a story about his experiences in the Feb. 14 issue. His dedication to LGBT causes and equality issues hasn’t dissipated since his college years. Lueshen has recently accepted requests to be the grand marshall in Pride parades, and he’s now writing letters to gather support for the passage of Legislative Bill 485, which would change Nebraska’s non-discrimination statutes to extend special protections to sexual orientation and gender identity. Several newspapers, including the McCook Daily Gazette have published his letter. You can read it below.
From 2003-2006, I was an openly gay Husker football player hailing from Pierce, Nebraska. Teammates, coaches, fellow athletes, my family, and people from all over supported and accepted me for who I was. What mattered to them was the person I was on the inside; someone with strong moral values and great character.
If my fellow teammates could accept and love me for being gay over a decade ago, why is it so hard to accept other LGBT people in the workplace here in Nebraska now?
LB 485, pending before the Nebraska Legislature, would update our nondiscrimination laws to include equal employment opportunities for LGBT Nebraskans. Current law already protects people from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status or national origin. No one should be fired for who they are and who they love. It is a simple matter of fairness and justice. It sends the positive message that Nebraska is a welcoming place to live and work.
Gay and Lesbians in Nebraska pay taxes, vote, serve in the military, and run successful businesses. We go to school, play football, and cheer for the Huskers. We should be treated equally under the law.
I believe that most Nebraskans want to treat each other fairly and do the right thing. But when good judgment breaks down, we need to have laws that protect people. No one should have to live in fear that they can be fired from their job for a reason that has nothing to do with their job performance.
I fully support LB485, and I’m sure my former Husker teammates and coaches do as well. Please join me in the fight for equal employment opportunities for LGBT Nebraskans. I urge you to ask your legislator to act for equality and vote for LB485.