28 June 2009

40th Anniversary of Stonewall Riots

Seems fitting to be writing this near 1 AM on June 28th, very near the time the Stonewall Riots began 40 years ago.

If you haven't heard of Stonewall, check out:
Stonewall Riots 40th Anniversary: A Look Back at the Uprising that Launched the Modern Gay Rights Movement

You can watch the video or scroll down to read the transcript. Lots of fascinating first person accounts of the riot and what it was like to be LGBTQ forty and fifty years ago prior to the gay rights movement.

The perception and visibility of LGBTQ people has changed a great deal even since I graduated high school 18 years ago, but there's still a lot further to go. Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are still on the books and most states have provisions preventing same sex marriages (e.g., Prop 8 in California). Even in states where same sex marriage is legal, same sex couples are denied the federal benefits extended to opposite sex marriage partners.

The more people are aware that we're out there, as their friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family, that we are part of their communities already, the better our chances will be for attaining equal rights. It may seem a bit much for me to ask since I only recently came out to my family.

I convinced myself that telling my family didn't matter because I'd made a good faith effort to tell them once before; and I was out to my friends, on the blog, and a host of other people. I'm a private person by nature. The thing is, that works against the gay rights movement for equality. Visibility matters. So, come out if you can.

Now for something everyone can do, sign the letter to Support Lt. Dan Choi before his trial on Tuesday.
Lt. Dan Choi, from Orange County, California, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. On Tuesday, he will face a panel of colonels who will decide whether or not to fire him -- to discharge him from the military for "moral and professional dereliction" under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. ...Lt. Choi will submit your signatures and your comments to the Army at 8 a.m. on Tuesday
Read and sign the letter before Tuesday.

Happy PRIDE, everyone!!!

Two years ago on TTaT: Let The Pictures Do The Talking: A Road Trip, ii; I want to be an asshole