Role Call: Connie Rose

Small Minds Discuss People
Why are discrimination and stigma still happening in small-town America
by Connie Rose

I came to the conclusion during the whole debate about same-sex marriage that my mother was wrong when she taught her children that all humans are created equal. I grew up thinking that I was no better or worse than the next person as long as they upheld basic common courtesy and sense. It should not take much more than utilizing those two essential human abilities to be worthy of being treated equally. Unfortunately, things like money, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity are the deciding factors of equality, and those are the absolute worst things to use as a base of someone’s worth.

Instead of judging others based on their character and thus empowering future generations, some people spend their whole lives being consumed by the sex of everything. From birth, the first words out of the doctor’s mouth is “It’s a….,” setting into motion a whole slew of preconceived notions about who and what this human is and can one day become.

We can only pray to our creator that one day the rest of the world decides to stop being ruled by the sex of things and decides to start being governed by the brain of things.

Oklahoma is putting Senate Bill 733 up before their State Legislation for a vote, and it includes this item, “Infectious diseases; requiring submission of certain documents before issuance of a marriage license.”

SB 733, introduced by Oklahoma Sen. Anthony Sykes (R), is a bill that stipulates: “The State Board of Health shall require a blood test for the discovery of syphilis and other communicable or infectious diseases prior to the issuance of a marriage license.” To prove they were tested, any couple wanting a license would be forced to supply a certificate or affidavit from their personal physician that confirms they are neither one infected with a disease that “may be communicable to their partner” to obtain a license. At this point, the way the bill’s written out, if either test positive they may not be allowed to get married. The key word here is “may.”

Oklahoma lawmakers are still trying to regulate marriage in other ways, too. They recently approved a bill that would punish local or state employees from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So what may be happening with SB 733 is a way to hunt down the “gay” population, since a recent report even states that about half of gay men are at risk of becoming HIV-positive, what better way to find them and prevent them from marrying. That is if their plan to ban marriage licenses falls through. That is only my opinion, of course, but it doesn’t take much to connect those dots. Here again, ruling their tiny part of the world because of sex. These are the people making laws for our nation, and all they care about is sex.

The only part of that bill I like is the part about getting everyone tested because that would be using our brain thing, finally…. We do not need to infringe upon someone’s medical rights to do this, though. Change the wording on a patient’s annual physical to say, “You must opt out of the full panel STD test” and voila! Boom, done, everyone’s tested.

“Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, Small minds discuss people.”—Eleanor Roosevelt. Why are we voting small minds into office?

What I would like to see happen is a combined effort to enact certain changes that will ensure that the events surrounding my infection with HIV don’t happen to another young person who thinks they are not at risk of catching HIV because they aren’t living a risky lifestyle.

If we want to see a better future we need to begin teaching our children the things we do not want to discuss. Gone should be the days of taboo talk around the fireplace. Here should be the days we are discussing those topics with honesty and a willingness to shine a light on them and force the truth to come so that our children will begin to live in a time of great understanding and acceptance. We preach knowledge as power, then hide the topics that will help them grow as humans. We need to stop hiding the issues that will keep them safe, because with education comes understanding and the ability to protect oneself from anything.

If Oklahoma is allowed to pass this bill, it will set a precedent for more discrimination based on sex. We should face these cases with an unwillingness to even debate them. But it will only stop if we force people to start using their brain and thinking about things that matter and stop thinking about only sex.

There is more to this life than the sex of it. There is the living it.


Connie Rose acquired HIV at twenty-one years of age from her husband because she didn’t ask for an HIV test before they married, and if he did know he didn’t tell her. Forty-one, Connie Rose is a mother and grandmother living in Las Vegas, Nevada, changing the world one blog at a time. When she is not writing for multiple ticket venues, including the Vegastickets website, she manages and writes for her own website,, an information and blogging site dedicated to the four H’s in the STD community. She also is an advocate in her local community and on social media. Follow Connie Rose on Twitter @Cricketlv.