It's so incredibly significant that Time magazine has put a transgender person on their cover in June, calling their challenge the 'next civil rights battle.'
It's just one more victory on the road we are traveling.
We who were all once deviants yesterday are now partners in tomorrow's America.
Already this year, we are seeing federal court after federal court validating LGBT marriages. Not civil unions. Not domestic partnerships. We are witnessing a social affirmation of who we are. Not tolerance. Not acceptance. Flat out equality.
Last month, President Obama nominated a gay ambassador to Vietnam. For this administration LGBT appointments are routine. Candidates for civil service are judged by the content of their character, not their sexuality. What was not routine was that the White House also saw to it that an openly gay man was commemorated on a U.S. Postage stamp. It’s but on the tiny corner of an envelope where the giants of American history reside.
On what would have been Harvey Milk's 84th birthday, the slain San Francisco city supervisor was so honored. Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the U.S., represents history on one hand, and hope on the other. His memory illuminates a past that cannot be forgotten. The Milk Foundation, today managed by Harvey's nephew, Stuart Milk, illuminates the continuing need to still fight for global LGBT equality.
There is so much still to fight for. There are still countries on this globe that stone women and execute gays. There are still laws where laws discriminate and intolerance is tolerated. These obstacles stretch from Florida to the Far East.
In the last year, we have seen gays beaten and tortured in Russia, the same country that hosted the International Olympics. It’s illegal to be gay in Qatar, but that did not stop the World Cup from making that discriminatory venue the home of the 2022 World Cup. We have plenty of time to voice our protest against the continuing and unacceptable way gays and lesbians are treated in parts of our globe.
The LGBT community is growing in South Florida, but so is HIV amongst our youngest populations. The World AIDS Museum has opened in Wilton Manors, and it provides somber testimony to the past. Still, we have not arrested the pandemic. We still have cures to find and research to continue. We have seniors to care for and drug addictions to put an end to. There are still gay teens that are bullied and LGBT runaway youths in our communities.
The LGBT community should not be resting on its laurels. Our national organizations have to do more than throw muscle parties on beaches. As we grow, so too do our responsibilities emerge. There are elections to be won, and new candidates to support. Do your part to make a difference. Find your niche, whether mentoring a young student or volunteering at an HIV clinic. Be part of something that gives your life purpose and real meaning to the word pride.
It's great that we can be proud to live in a philanthropic and thriving region of the world where the LGBT community prospers. Now let's do something which makes that community proud of us.
We have our day in the sun every June, and we make it into one big festival and party. Stonewall was not a party. It was a riot, where gay men stood tall, forcefully revolting against the physical and social abuses that society wrongfully tolerated.
Stonewall was 1969, but it's still 1969 somewhere. Don't ever forget that. We made the cover of Time magazine in 2014, and we have a right to be proud. But there are still Stonewalls in the days ahead. Find yours.