A Michigan retiree expressed his support of a local LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance by performing a whimsical rap in front of his city’s council.
As seen in the video above, Donald Tassie, 81, received thunderous applause from Jackson residents after taking the mic to back a citywide ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations Tuesday. The former superintendent at Jackson’s da Vinci High School, Tassie deemed himself “Mr. T” and wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Be More Kind” before showing off some surprising MC chops.
“Kindness, caring, compassion, too/is what we all need to do,” Tassie rapped. “Don’t be afraid, don’t be shy/C’mon now, let’s give it a try.”
Tassie told Michigan Live that he’d planned to discuss the ordinance in a speech, but opted for a more creative approach in an effort to liven up the crowd. “I had a whole speech prepared. We got started and people said things I was going to say,” he said. “There was a part of me that thought it was time for something different, I said, ‘Let’s try another thing.’”
Tassie said he began getting involved with the local LGBTQ community as an ally after the death of his wife, Tuey, in 2001. Out of all of his friends and family, a lesbian couple, Iris and Dianne, offered him the most support after Tuey’s passing, he said.
“They are my dearest best friends after that,” he told Michigan Live. “How could I deny them, my friends, the same rights that I have?”
No word on whether or not Tassie’s rap swayed their views, but Jackson city council members voted 5-2 in favor of the non-discrimination ordinance.
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