Today I stand accused; accused by a known acquaintance, a local business owner and gay man. I stand accused of being a gay activist. Oddly, I’ve never thought of myself as an activist of any sort past pressing individuals to discard their baggage and help themselves to a better future.
As a volunteer I serve on the Board of Directors of The Stonewall National Museum & Archives, as part of that role I serve on the Board’s Executive Committee as a result of my acting as treasurer. My role as treasurer is much more finance and operating focused than most others who also serve on the board. Were I to accuse someone of being a gay activist I would more likely choose any of my fellow board members, all of whom are much more active out in the wider gay community. I never considered myself a gay activist.
As an author, writer and blogger I write on a variety of subjects. Of my two books, one is a fictional gay romance. The second one is a money book for young people who have not yet found themselves too deep in financial distress, and as a tool for those who want to extricate themselves from their financial mire. Not exactly gay activist material I think.
I have been to countless Prides, held the endless gay flag at Pride in Wilton Manors, volunteered at Pride in Lake Worth, marched in the Pride parade in Buffalo, walked in the Aids Walk in Wilton Manors, manned The Stonewall National Museum & Archive booth at Pride in Holiday Park, staffed the book sale at The Pride Center flea market, saw the huge Rainbow flag at the corner of Market & Castro and felt my heart swell with pride, stood outside Harvey Milk’s camera store in the Castro and shed a silent tear and made a trip to California in July 2008 to marry my partner of 27 years; not because I gained anything I didn’t already have, but because I became countable. So, actually I do get a bit active.
Writing for The South Florida Gay News might be construed as leading me to the edge of gay activism, yet again much of my work with the paper is finance related. There is no question that I can go over the edge when inequity and downright hate cross my path; this I can not in good conscious ignore. Maybe I do stir things up once in a while.
Now I’m finding that standing accused of being a gay activist settles rather nicely with me. Sometimes I think I don’t give enough back to a community that has served me well for the best part of four decades.
However, if I am guilty as accused than many of you who I know, and countless more I don’t, are also. All who have stood up to an acquaintance, a family member or a bully, I love your strength. All who have chosen not to buy from a homophobic business, attend a homophobic church or visit a homophobic destination, I applaud your decisions. All who have spoken with your vote to keep hateful and homophobic candidates from office, I voted with you. All who have ever stood up at a Pride parade or Pride event to be counted as human, happy and out, I appreciate your courage. You, I accuse of being gay activists.
I suppose my known acquaintance, the local business owner who is a gay man is probably right. To my accuser, thank you for the compliment. I am a gay activist and I appreciate the accusation. Guilty as charged.