As this quiet summer edition of our newspaper goes to press on Tuesday evening, August 24, the primary election results are unknown. By the time you are reading this, they will be. One thing that won’t change either way is that LGBT populations are going to be cheated in Florida.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate will be Alex Sink, and while she has only been mildly supportive of the LGBT community, she is light years ahead of the both the Republican candidates, Rick Scott or Bill McCollum.
McCollum is not only opposed to gays adopting children, he wants to eliminate the right of gays to be foster parents. Of course, this is the guy who hired George Rekers, who then hired a boy hooker with the money the state paid him to speak out against gays. So the state paid for his escort? Still, McCollum, as Attorney General, is further along protecting our civil rights then his opponent, Rick Scott, who ran, according to his mom, because God told him to. We thought She was too busy, but he heard Her voice.
None of the candidates running for United States Senate has a history of being an advocate for the LGBT community, though Governor Crist has spent a decade telling everyone he is not gay. Well, if he is, he has hardly been our spokesperson. The bottom line is that all the statewide candidates may give us a little lip service here and there, but none have embraced our causes or advocated our issues. Whoever gets elected, not much will change statewide in Florida for the LGBT community. To his credit, Mr. Meek has at least reached out to us.
Rather than relying upon others, we can do more for ourselves by presenting our community respectfully in local races, from judicial campaigns to city commissions. We should be seeking appointment on city zoning boards, and illuminating our lives as entrepreneurs and businessmen and professionals.
Most importantly, when we achieve a victory, we have to maintain our position with dignity and grace. When you are fighting for your rights, you don’t want to expose yourself as doing wrong. We can do without the directors of our pride organizations being criminally charged with embezzlement. You know, whether he won or lost last night challenging a moneyed incumbent, Justin Flippen did this community proud.
Speaking of our community, the economy is hurting right now, and in the heat of this summer, our own realtors, businesses, restaurants and bars are feeling the pinch. If you want to do something good for the LGBT community, then spend your money in it. Throw that birthday party in a local restaurant which hosted an AIDS charity. Find a lawyer or dentist or realtor who is advertising in your local community newspaper and use that professional over someone else. Give back to the people who give to you. Let’s help each other help ourselves.
Just as we said last week to vote for the candidates who speak to your dreams, we encourage you to seek out those businesses which protect and advance your interests. As the primary races come to an end, the general elections begin. Find and support those candidates who support you unconditionally and embrace their campaigns. From these August elections, some viable LGBT voices will emerge. Help see that they get heard. The good we do can only come back to us another day.
This fall, a seismic shift will occur in gay life. A court will find the ban on gay adoptions in Florida illegal. An appeals court in California will rule that the ban on gay marriages is illegal. Congress will either end DADT or embrace ENDA, and if not, national gay activists will take to the streets to protest the injustice. Maybe that ripple of activism will actually reach South Florida, and the pages of this paper will be able to cover real protest instead of new circuit parties.
Yes, South Florida will still have our softball leagues and swim teams, but put your life out there, get in the game, and be ahead of the curve. Make your mark by being part of the change we know is coming. The rights we fight for are our own. If not now, when? If not you, who?