Well, here we are almost at the end of Gay Pride month as proclaimed by President William Jefferson Clinton in 2000, and more recently, President Barack Obama on the 1st of this month. This is the time of the year all over the country when the LGBT communities come together to celebrate their identity and self-esteem with each other. Depending on which state you live in will determine how large the event will be. California and New York are known to have great Pride parades with activities and events. Today, as I am writing this, they are marching and bringing awareness in a happy and entertaining way.
What is so ironic about this is that despite California’s liberal laws and “perfect” weather, it still holds a black cloud of shame due to the recent vote on Proposition 8 that disallows same-sex marriages after six months of having it legal on the state level. There was much effort on the part of gay rights activists as well as some politicians to push legislature to legalize same-sex marriage through New York’s state senate. This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which took place in New York at the raided gay bar, Stonewall Inn. It was the June 1969 riots that later led to June being celebrated as Gay Pride month, and formally acknowledged by two presidential leaders.
So here’s the deal. The purpose of me writing this blog today is to acknowledge that we have come a long way in the gay community. I remember how challenging it was to be gay when I was younger and I know how much discrimination exists for me as an adult. I guess some people in this country feel that if I can be allowed to exist here, and not get stoned to death, I should be happy.
Well, I am happy for the most part. I am happy that the gay community is making progress and has legalized gay marriage in six states. Currently, three states perform marriages: Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa. Vermont and Maine will start performing in September of this year with New Hampshire following in January 2010. This is a great accomplishment considering five out of these six states all legalized gay marriage within a year of each other. It is as if the dominos are falling and it is only a matter of time until gay people get our equal rights and earned benefits.
So is the agenda moving fast enough? Well, first let me clarify what I mean by agenda. My main agenda for the gay community is to help people understand the LGBT community and have others within and outside our community support us. Support can include donations, volunteering, patronizing gay businesses, voting on legislation that supports gay marriage, and of course, listening to my radio show and reading my blog. I thank you for taking the time out of your day to be informed and supportive, even if you had not intended to be.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure most gay people’s agenda does not include converting straight people to gay, or forcing our way into your holy religion. There are plenty of places and people that support homosexuality on different levels. If you aren’t one of them, you’ll be losing a lot of business soon. For example, I met a pastor that invited me to his church. I actually liked the guy, but I strongly disagreed with his beliefs of homosexuality and stopped going to his church. This ultimately results in reduced personal support and revenue.
Another example is a women’s basketball game I went to in San Antonio. This was on the same day as gay pride in my area. The gay pride was smaller than I expected, but at least it exists out here. There was a lot of advertisement from Miller Lite beer. Despite not being a sucker for advertisement, and not even drinking beer except maybe once a year, I did have a few Miller Lite beers at the game.
I felt the need for a buzz after walking around San Antonio’s humidity and then waiting in line outside for the season’s première game to start. Since no pina coladas were available, I ended up supporting the same company that supported gay pride. I think it may be needless to say that just being at the WNBA indirectly supports my community. There were plenty of obviously gay people (or should I just say lesbians) supporting the WNBA. The San Antonio Stars won the game and we got more tickets that night. They won the next game so we got more tickets to an upcoming game.
What do I mean when I say all this? What I am saying is if you support me and my community, I will support you. That doesn’t just apply to homosexuality. I was honorably discharged from the military several years ago. Let’s just say I would not trade my military experience for anything because it is a part of who I am, but the experience could have been a lot nicer.
Initially, I was very bitter towards the military. Yet, as I have discovered more benefits to being a veteran, I have lost a lot of that bitterness and am now supportive of my community. That does not mean I agree with military politics. But now that I am a little older and experienced, I realize that these political organizations exists everywhere. I also realize that my willingness to help others and serve my country has in return helped me tremendously. Life is what you make of it.
So why in this world that is full of abundance are people so concerned over other people that really don’t affect their life? I believe most people should mind their own business unless someone personally asks them for help or advice. Otherwise, let people live as they choose. If I am an American citizen, a tax payer, and a veteran, why should I be treated any less than equal in regards to marriage?
I wish you strength and love.
:) The Gay Mentor