A motivational speaker shared his story and stance on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) rights, Wednesday, in the Student Center Ballroom.
Greg R. Baird shared his views on the importance of equality, inclusiveness and community during his presentation. He believes everyone can support the civil rights of the LGBTQ community for social change and speaks about how these issues affect the entire community. He also stressed the importance of equality, inclusiveness and community.
Even though Baird now speaks on civil rights, Baird wasn’t raised in a household that shared those beliefs. He was raised in a “white privilege” family in Northern Michigan.
Baird said his father would come home each night and tell offensive jokes about minorities and if Baird and his brother did not laugh at their dad’s joke, they were punished.
Baird credited growing up like this to why he became an advocate for minorities.
Before Baird was a full-time speaker and activist for LGBTQ civil rights, he worked at a college in Michigan and spoke as a side hobby. When the company that represents him, Bass-Schuler Entertainment, first asked him to be a full-time speaker, he had a difficult time deciding to switch careers.
Baird said he became a full-time speaker after learning about the impact his speech had on a girl in one of his audiences.
After returning to a college where he gave a lecture the prior year, a girl told Baird that he saved her life when he spoke the year before.
During his presentation, Baird spoke about hate crimes. One that he discussed Wednesday night was Matthew Shepard.
Shepard was 21 years old when two men tied him to a fence, beat him and left him for dead. His body was found two days later, and the case was closed two days following the recovery of Shepard’s body.
During his discussion on hate crimes, Baird said there are 953 hate groups operating in the United States, and nine of those groups are from Nebraska. These nine hate groups are made up of one Christian Identity group, four Neo-Nazi groups, two Black Nationalist groups, one Anti-Muslim group and one White Nationalist group.
Baird also stressed the importance of sharing your own story and becoming a mentor for others to reach out to.
“What’s your story? We all have a story,” Baird said.