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Columbus Dispatch: Letter: Columbus’ tolerance should impress Amazon

If LGBT issues are indeed playing a factor in Amazon’s search for a second home, well then founder Jeff Bezos should look no further than Columbus. The Washington Post article “Gay rights on Amazon’s mind” in Sunday’s Dispatch described the importance of a “compatible cultural and community environment” for the lucky city that will be chosen as home to HQ2.

If there is a city that demonstrates such a compatibility, it is Columbus. Here, harmful conversion-therapy efforts are banned, Equitas Health serves as a beacon for LGBT health care, and we have one of the largest pride parades in the region.

However, Columbus is also home to an unprecedented partnership that is tackling childhood mental-health service disparities head-on. Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Big Lots’ groundbreaking initiative — The Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion — will be the first facility of its kind. Research, clinical and educational efforts will transform child mental-health services for the children of central Ohio — LGBT youth among them — on the grounds of the hospital. This active collaboration is another example of the compatible cultural and community environment that we in Columbus are fortunate to bear witness to.

Employees of a Columbus Amazon HQ2 can rest assured that Columbus is a place where their children will have access to world-class behavioral health care, and this is particularly true for young people who are LGBT. This is compatibility at its best.

Scott Leibowitz, medical director, THRIVE program (gender and sex development),
Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus

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