People worldwide are facing violence and inequity, torture and even execution because of their sexual orientation. But some people are fighting against these killings and executions, trying to make the world an equal place. Some are also documenting and exposing the kind of rough treatment, medical abuses, discrimination in health, jobs, housing, domestic violence, and denial of family rights that the LGBTQ+ community has to go through on an everyday basis. The individuals are also pushing the government for laws and policies that preserve the dignity of all people, and one such person is Todd Emerson – a man who’s open about his sexual orientation, unafraid to love any man that he chooses to because, like everyone else, there’s no reason he shouldn’t.
He’s truly someone who deserves recognition for all that he’s done to make the world safer. Despite having terminal illnesses, Todd has offered a lot to his community throughout his life! Following are some of his remarkable contributions.
Todd Emerson’s Personal Life
Todd Randall Emerson is a 57-year-old gay man, born in 1964, a time when being gay wasn’t just “normal” but also came with heavy repercussions. He is American-born of Irish descent, a retired, disabled veteran, married to Daniel Gene Hill since 2015, and has been working as an LGBTQ the same rights activist for several decades. He has been involved with several organizations, including GL Friendly, Mississippi Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and South Mississippi Aid Task Force, some of which he even established himself.
Struggle For LGBTQ Rights
Emerson arranged the inaugural of 'Ocean Springs Pride March' in 1993 by placing a small newspaper ad asking people to attend a meeting at his home to suggest creating a gay and lesbian community center. Only a dozen of people showed up, but what was surprising was that hundreds of people came to City Hall a week later to present a petition against him which was coordinated by the First Baptist Church, requesting them to ban Emerson from holding any further meetings, to leave his home and to move out of town. Although the Alderman acknowledged their agreement with the church, the petition was denied. Emerson received hundreds of threatening phone calls, due to which police officers were also stationed around his house. People passed by his house and yelled, "Go back to San Francisco!"
But despite all the hate and threats, Todd stood firm, and within a year, he opened the GL Friendly Center in Biloxi to serve the LGBTQ+ community. It was all because of his efforts and struggles that Ocean Springs, Mississippi, became the first-ever city in the state to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, celebrating June as its LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Queer people are often subjected to assault and brutality. Todd Emerson has associated himself with organizations such as the Mississippi Gay and Lesbian Task Force to combat this inhumane treatment of a community that wants acceptance and equal respect. He is one of the most prominent names today in activism and the reason we’ve seen so much improvement and de-stigmatization of the LGBTQ+ community in the past years.
But even today, most hate crimes are still reported against the LGBTQ community. And that’s why, for Todd, his work isn’t done just yet. His main goal is to highlight and end anti-LGBT violence and discrimination, and it’s safe to say that he’s not going to stop until he achieves that!