I write this letter to you with a distinct sense of pride but also as a warning to not let your guard down in the fight for equality. The win that the U.S. Supreme Court gave to marriage equality only places us in the middle of the story. After all, our right to choose who we want to love and share our lives with was only affirmed, not granted. What we are ultimately fighting for is the respect to exercise our rights freely.
Respect, as they say, is earned. The LGBT community has achieved a lot since the sixties when my uncle, Freddy Nodal, and his partner, Raydel, were pioneers of Boys Town in Chicago. They refurbished the brick building across the street from Las Mananitas on North Halsted and rented out apartments to the budding “gayborhood”. Throughout the U.S., people like my uncle have established the LGBT community as the driving force behind many vibrant urban beacons like New York's Chelsea, San Francisco's Castro and Miami’s South Beach as well as its Upper Eastside and many others. The LGBT community has become known for accomplishments in culture and business rather than just an association to sexual orientation.
Before the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the LGBT community already achieved marriage equality in 37 states and is currently on the forefront of such issues as adoption, economic justice and oppression (or bullying). Politically, the LGBT community can no longer be ignored. Even places in the Midwest such as Indiana are celebrating their first openly gay executive, Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend who came out in June in a written statement saying, “Our shared knowledge that the greatest thing any of us has to offer is love.”
The work of the LGBT community will and must continue beyond the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision affirming marriage equality. The Supreme Court’s decision did not change hearts and minds, only the legal landscape. This is a task set before you.
Respect is earned, but if the past is any indicator, the persistence, unity, and freedom of the LGBT community will achieve this goal.
It is time to press on.
Palomino is a candidate for the City of Miami Commission, District 2. Her election is on November 3rd. For more information about her, visit her website at www.Palomino4Miami.com.