July 25, 2017 • BLOG ENTRY

Pride

Twenty-five years ago I was nine months pregnant with my son. One of my closest friends from college and I were catching up over the phone when he came out to me. I went into labor that night.

We went to college in the 80s. It was not unusual for a member of the LGBTQ community to be closeted (we didn’t even have that acronym back then). We entered college in 1982 and started to hear about this scary new disease that was decimating the gay community: AIDS. President Reagan would not speak its name until three years later in response to a reporter’s question. It was 1985 and AIDS claimed the lives of 5,636 people that year, including film star, Rock Hudson.

Now it’s Pride Month. My friend is in a committed relationship with a man that he loves. They can legally marry in any state (HINT, HINT). This is reason to celebrate.


Me with my dear friend and his partner.

Laws barring same sex marriage have been declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. It is now legal in all 50 states for same sex couples to adopt, but Alabama, South Dakota and Texas have recently passed legislation that could prevent LGBTQ parents from adopting. Kentucky just passed a law that would allow campus groups to exclude LGBTQ members. Sixteen states do not offer any type of discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, although some cities and localities have passed their own ordinances within these states. In fact, in these states it is still legal to discriminate against the LGBTQ community in employment, housing and education. So while a couple is free to marry, they can then be legally fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes because they have chosen to exercise their constitutional right.

It has been said that gay rights have moved faster than any other civil rights movement. A year ago, Stonewall National Monument was dedicated and became the first US national monument dedicated to LGBTQ rights and history. So this week I will join others and celebrate the progress that has been made in the march towards equality. But then it’s back to work. We must continue to fight so that every member of the LGBTQ community is fully protected under the laws of our cities, states, and country. None of us are truly free until we are all free.