Op-Ed: The Sun Is Rising On Gay America

via @Bren0gfox

The LGBT community in America has much to be thankful for in 2018. As an example, be sure you take a moment and look at the article by Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade in this week’s paper. 

The headline notes that “102 LGBT Leaders Enthusiastically Endorse Nancy Pelosi for Leader.” Think about that number: 102. Wow. Mind-boggling.

Let’s face it. Gay America is no longer in the closet. There is just a little curtain you push aside on your way to tomorrow.

There is a place today at the table for the LGBT community in the American electoral system. In city halls, state houses and our congresses, gay men and women are open and elected, out and proud. Our voices are heard and our talents are recognized.

Our community has not won every battle, and there are equal rights laws we still have to fight for. There are protections that we have won which we will now have to fight to preserve. But the road is ours to maintain and manage. It was not always that way.

The days when homosexuality subjected you to ridicule and shame are gone in America. Ostracism is so… yesterday. We are living in a day and age when all that will get you is censure in the workplace and a fine from the NBA. We have stood naked against the cannon and survived. It is something to be thankful for. 

Let’s never forget how our partnerships were once branded as “the love that dare not speak its name.” No one dares to say that anymore.

Years ago, gay civil rights marches were led by people shouting: “We are here, we are queer, we are everywhere.” We don’t have to chant in the streets anymore. We have our voices and votes in the House of Representatives.

Thankful? Yes, we should be. We can openly celebrate who we are, and what we have achieved. There never was a justification to make us socially deviant societal outcasts in the first place. We were wronged. 

Our course and the road ahead will not always be easy. There will be times when we find the water is not always calm. So it is with life - straight or gay, black or white, rich or poor.

A smooth sea alone does not make for a good sailor. There will always be threatening squalls. We succeed in life by coming about, enduring adversity and bouncing back stronger. 

The LGBT community still faces challenges. We are beginning to realize within our own community how many teenagers are still getting bullied; how many transgender persons are wrongly thought of as second-class. 

Within our own homes, we still need to worry about domestic violence, excessive alcohol use, and drug abuse, too. As I have said many times, we are more a part of our larger community, than apart from it. We share its problems as well as promises.

As we approach World AIDS Day, we see still rising HIV rates in South Florida, and an epidemic of meth invading men in their twenties and thirties. Our editor has written about rising rates of syphilis amongst gay men. On many fronts, we can do better still.

Throughout the world, there are multiple causes to speak out about. Sodomy is still a crime in too many places, and the noise from places like Tanzania is frightening. Only a year ago we were reading about ISIS throwing gays off of rooftops. All is not well with the world. 

Qatar holding the World Cup in a few years is no reason to celebrate. African countries stoning gays to death, and teen gangs wantonly attacking gays in Eastern Europe are legitimate reasons for worldwide alarm. 

There is much to be done; always more to do. The roadblocks are coming down though, and the barriers ahead are very small compared to the victories we have already won. Still, these are historic times for the LGBT community. 

We have endured and lived long enough to conquer those who would have conquered us. We are stronger for it. No one can stop us now. Don’t let anyone stop you. 

As you gather at Thanksgiving to be with your family and argue incessantly with them this weekend, treasure the moments you have together. Life is a gift and a garden. Make it grow and blossom. 

Be thankful and proud then, for how far we have come, to be sure, but never ever forget how much longer we have to go. Don’t be apathetic. Be aware. Care to make a difference.

Don’t be neutral when your rights are involved. If an elephant is standing on a mice’s tail, it does no good for the mouse if you tell him you want to remain neutral. In the middle of the road, you will only find dead skunks and yellow lines. 

On behalf of SFGN, let me wish you the beginning of a great holiday season. Let me also thank you for allowing us to be your credible, conscientious, community newspaper, delivering facts, not fluff; straight facts and gay news. SFGN.

This paper will always be your forum for issues and ideas. We are your voice, a free and open gay press in a straight world. SFGN will stand by your side always.

And, if you have any turkey left over, bring it here. We will be working on next week’s issue, and the January issue of the Mirror.

We have reason to be thankful, and cause to be proud. 

Happy Thanksgiving from SFGN.

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