What’s an Important Story This Week That Should be Noted
“Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders. This week we asked them for their thoughts on an important news story this week.
Below are some of their answers:
Miami-Dade and Broward County rank number one and number two respectively with the highest number of AIDS cases per capita in the U.S. What is our community doing about these statistics?
— Anthony Timiraos, CEO/President, OUR Fund
June is Gay Pride Month because it commemorates the June 28, 1969 rebellion at the Stonewall bar on Christopher Street in N.Y. when LGBT patrons fought back against police harassment and intimidation. Let's take a moment together to reflect on how far we've come since early Pride parade marchers covered their heads in paper bags out of fear of being stigmatized. And let's not think that the people in the U.S. and elsewhere who continue to think that we're inferior to them are relaxing their efforts to roll back our progress.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
North Dakota is the only state in the union with an unchallenged gay marriage ban. There are currently more than 30 states challenging gay marriage bans, and as we’ve noticed, marriage equality has been achieved in many states recently through judicial action — not legislative. This is important because it shows that even states that are extremely conservative can indeed achieve marriage equality through the judicial system. Come on North Dakota LGBT couples we need your help!
— John Paul Alvarez, educator, historian, and Democratic candidate for Florida House District 100
America's LGBT older population is facing unique challenges concerning healthcare, financial insecurity, social isolation, caregiving issues and access to services. These issues demand the attention of policy makers and service providers. In the next several decades LGBT adults age 65 and above is expected to double, reaching more than 3 million by 2030.
— Lori Lynch, Executive Director, LGBT Visitor Center of Miami Beach
With this past weeks tussle over RuPaul’s use of the word tranny, the gay community must ask itself, “have we become too politically correct?” I was looked at weird last week when kidding with a straight friend referring to another friend as a “mo” (homosexual). The straight friend looked at me like I had six heads. ‘”How could you say such a thing?” was the next question. Growing up in the 70/80’s we were gays, lesbians, homo’s, tranny’s, queers, mo’s, drag queens, but mainly just big queens. And we called each other exactly that. We didn’t worry about offending [each other]. Today it has gotten so bad the community feels they need to be on their guard with every syllable, so I go back to my original question, “has the gay community become too politically correct?”
— Terry DeCarlo, Director of Development & Public Relations for the Broward House
Especially right after Memorial Day weekend, the LGBT community should be grateful not only for those in the military that have given their lives for this great country; but also for the fact that those who serve in our military no longer have to do so in secrecy after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT). As Miami Beach’s first and only openly gay elected official, I recall my sexual orientation being made an issue by my opponent in my first campaign. Although it was intended to be hurtful, it actually liberated me with voters to be open and honest about who I am. I am thankful that the Obama administration had the courage to do away with DADT and allow our LGBT members of the military to serve out and proud as well.
— Michael C. Gongora, former Vice Mayor of Miami Beach
Our community should care about those who find themselves homeless. The LGBTQ population is disproportionately represented and our current system is not fully prepared to provide the support needed.
— Robin Schwartz, Executive Director of Aqua Foundation for Women
The new President of the Boy Scouts, Robert Gates, said he would have allowed gay men to become Scoutmasters last year when openly gay boys were admitted for the first time. Young gay scouts need gay role models. Excluding them from serving as Scoutmasters themselves when they become 21 sends the wrong messages to them.
— Ken Keechl, noted trial attorney and candidate for Broward County Commission
The release of the Harvey Milk commemorative stamp is an extraordinary public acknowledgement of the many contributions of this gay, Jewish man, including his work on rent control, development, senior rights, in addition to his groundbreaking work on behalf of LGBT people. He was assassinated for who he was — a gay, Jewish man. May we continue to be inspired by his life and his passions, and never forget the many sacrifices of all of the heroes of our movement.
— Noah Kitty, Rabbi and Executive Director of Congregation Etz Chaim