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In late June, folks in Dixon, California, woke to an eye-opening op-ed in their local newspaper.

It was a "Ted Talk" (so to speak) that few residents were asking for.

In an edition of his column "That's Life," Vice Mayor Ted Hickman penned an essay calling for July to be celebrated as "SPAM" — Straight Pride American Month.

Seriously.



And yes, his essay — a rebuke to the LGBTQ Pride Month recognized every June — was as homophobic as you'd expect.


"Now hundreds of millions of the rest of us can celebrate our month, peaking on July 4th, as healthy, heterosexual, fairly monogamous, keep our kinky stuff to ourselves, Americans," Hickman wrote in the nonsensical essay, which, as of writing, can still be read on his website. "We do it with our parades in every state and county in this country with families celebrating together" [emphasis in original].

Also, LGBTQ people are "fairies" who only march in Pride parades for the attention, according to the vice mayor.

He continued, saying that "we honor our country and our veterans who have made all of this possible (including for the tinker bells) and we can do it with actual real pride, not some put on show just to help our inferior complex 'show we are different' type of crap."

So ... where to begin?

Hickman's op-ed clearly displays an abhorrent amount of homophobia. But "Straight Pride" wasn't his creation. The slogan has been used by some social conservatives since at least the 1980s.  

Many Twitter users have rallied around #HeterosexualPrideDay the past few years, causing the hashtag to trend on social media and setting off a debate around its relevance.

In June, some irked Red Sox fans questioned why the team didn't celebrate a "Straight Night" after the club's logo was painted in rainbow colors in honor of LGBTQ Pride. Pop over to Facebook, and you may even be able to find a (totally unironic) "Straight Pride" event in your neck of the woods.

Just to say it: We don't celebrate "Straight Pride Month" for the same reasons we don't celebrate "White Heritage Month" or "Men's History Month."

Privileged groups don't need a day (or week or month) to reflect on their humanity and history because our culture celebrates their humanity and history every day.

If you're straight (or cisgender, or male, or white, or abled, or Christian), that's great! But those parts of your identity haven't been systemically oppressed, like the identities of those — and many other — marginalized groups.

LGBTQ people, for instance, still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and other aspects of life. So it's not surprising that they report higher rates of mental illness and attempt suicide more frequently. Family rejection helps explains why up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ.

When alarming figures like that no longer exist, maybe "Straight Pride" can be on the table. (But probably not.)

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

The good news is, many residents in Dixon — and across the state — are not impressed with Hickman's antics.

And the backlash has been swift and furious.

Dixon City Councilman Devon Minnema posted a statement on Facebook shortly after Hickman's essay was published by The Independent Voice, calling the op-ed "deeply disturbing" and encouraging the council to act.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT: The positions of Councilman Hickman published in yesterday’s Independent Voice are deeply...

Posted by City Councilman Devon Minnema on Saturday, June 30, 2018

Rick Zbur, the executive director of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality California, is urging Hickman to resign.

"Despite all the progress we've made, hate and intolerance are alive and well in fringe politicians like Mr. Hickman who spew hateful rhetoric in an attempt to dehumanize members of our LGBTQ community," Zbur said in a statement. "Mr. Hickman's words have no place in our society — especially at a time when our nation is already so divided and studies show hate crimes are on the rise."

A "Recall Ted Hickman" Facebook group has been launched, and as of this writing, has attracted over 1,500 supporters. It's also organizing a city council protest demanding Hickman step down.

"As a straight person I certainly feel no pride in having anything in common with unfunny Hickman," one supporter wrote. "Shame on him."

You may be proud to be straight, vice mayor — but it sounds like many people in Dixon aren't very proud to call you their own.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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