I've been a travel writer for the State of Indiana for six years, a role I have loved, as it has taken me around to different parts of the state I had never seen, and I've met some outstanding people.
But after Governor Pence signed SB101 into law today, I decided that I did not want to be a part of the Indiana state government any further, even as a small-time contractor. (Update: I want to clarify that I was only a part-time contract writer for the agency, and not a full-time employee. I still have a job — I own my own business.)
I've loved being a part of VisitIndiana, and all the opportunities it's afforded me. I've made some wonderful friends, like Kendal Miller of Switzerland County Tourism, Laura Libs of Visit Evansville, and Patricia Rettig of Beef & Boards Theatre (the woman who made me appreciate musical theatre).
|Entering Vevay, Indiana in Switzerland County. I never get tired of this view.|
I've visited parts of the state I would have otherwise never seen, like the Heartland Historic Baseball Trail, the haunted Story Inn in Story, Indiana, and Wolf Park in Tippecanoe County.
And I remember the chaos of the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale in Fort Wayne, watching the Evansville Otters baseball team, and the very first trip I ever took, visiting Pokagon State Park and the toboggan run.
|HART's Shakespeare On The Canal - The Tempest, 2014|
I can't say enough nice things about the IOTD and their hard-working staff. I've become friends with several of them, and would sometimes lend my social media expertise on occasion, because I support what they do.
They do excellent work in the face of continual budget cuts, and I'm proud of the (very) small part I've played there.
If you ever want to meet a government agency filled with entrepreneurial thinkers, this is it.
I love my state, and its people, history, and traditions. As corny as it is, I even liked last year's tourism slogan, "Honest to Goodness," because I believed in what it meant.
|The Lafayette Farmers Market in the Fall.|
Even now, I believe Indiana is a good place, with good people who have good hearts.
But, at least today, I don't feel right in inviting people to visit us.
Not when some of them are less welcome. Not when there's a chance they'll be told they're not wanted. I can't ask them to come here, so I quit.
I'll still be a cheerleader for our state and tell everyone about the wonderful places and people in it. But I'll be doing it on this blog, on my own time. Not for a government who thinks so poorly of some of its citizens that it legalizes discrimination against them.
For those of you who read my work, supported my efforts, and made it possible for me to travel my home state and report on what I found, thank you very much. Thank you for six of the most interesting and most exciting years I've spent here.