“Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders. This week we asked them what’s next after gay marriage?
Below are some of their answers:
Marriage equality seems inevitable. So too do employment protections. What we all need to focus on is the diversity of gender expression. We are all transgender, or thought to be. The two gay men who were called faggots, and told not to return to the Pittsburg restaurant, allegedly broke the owner's rule of "men acting like men, and women acting like women." We need to address what that means.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
We need winning strategies in the courts of public opinion, not just the courts of law. Legal recognition of same sex marriages is only the begging of a long term strategy. Education should be a significant step to help prevent continued discrimination after our legal system approves same-sex marriage.
— Anthony Timiraos, CEO/President, OUR Fund
Following the success of same-sex marriage in every jurisdiction, the LGBT community’s agenda should clearly include anti-discrimination protections in employment, public accommodations, and other contexts. The gay rights movement is on track to be remembered as a very successful movement for fairness and equality that captured the American mainstream.
— Lori Lynch, Executive Director, LGBT Visitor Center of Miami Beach
With the battle to obtain marriage equality almost complete, the LGBT community must focus on the younger members of our tribe. One study shows that 78 percent of LGBT students have reported being bullied at school. We must demand from our elected officials and school board staff, policies to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for LGBT students.
— Ken Keechl, noted trial attorney and candidate for Broward County Commission
The LGBT community’s next mission should be to get back to basics to once again become a one-force unit. When we stand together, we can move mountains, however, in the past several years the gay community has cut itself into fractions, fighting against each other. How can we stand together and fight for rights when we spend too much time fighting amongst ourselves?
— Terry DeCarlo, Director of Development & Public Relations for Broward House
I don’t think it’s about what’s next but what’s still left to do. Gay marriage is great, but it doesn’t solve the problem of bullying, LGBT youth suicide, increasing HIV rates, LGBT hate crimes, and LGBT youth homelessness to name just a few. We should celebrate our victories but not lose sight of the important issues that require our attention and demand our action.
— Denise Spivak, Director of Member Relations and External Affairs for CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
The gay community must come together to strengthen our position in the community – politically, socially and economically. While there is a growing number of openly gay elected officials and allies, the LGBT community should work to elect public servants that promote equality for all. We must also focus on social issues that are prevalent in our community including combatting homelessness and the continuing spread of HIV/AIDS. Last, as LGBT couples marry and get older we must prepare for retirement in a community less likely to have children and more dependent on assisted living, home health care and long term care insurance.
— Michael C. Gongora, former Vice Mayor of Miami Beach