Carthage is unsafe for the LGBTQ+ community

After living in Carthage since 2011, an intolerance for members of the LGBTQ+ has been ever apparent from members of the community.

Never full acceptance or inclusion, snide comments and stares from people who do not understand nor care to, and to be honest we were okay with that, as long as we were left alone.

Yet it has become even more apparent as of late that members of the LGBTQ+ community here in Carthage and Panola County are not safe.

Law enforcement sides with bigotry and ignores pleas for help, only to call it a civil matter so they do not have to face and deal with cries from those who are different from them.

Homophobic slurs from members of the community go unchecked and are considered “bad words” only and not hate crimes by law enforcement and those who support them.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community can openly be targeted and treated as less than human, as long as it is okay with heads of office.

I ask, how is this okay?

How can people of this community sleep well at night, knowing other fellow human beings are being the target of ever growing hate here in our town?

How can people live with themselves knowing this is happening while they go about their daily lives, going shopping, to church, to home where someone they love most likely is a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

How, I ask, is it safe for all then?

— Dillan Payne, Carthage

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