December 10, 2007.
I wonder what we could say if we decided to do a “report” to our community/movement pioneers, most of whom left us in the last decade. I can tell them several things just this last week, and they are all positive.
The Williams Institute (UCLA Law School) has issued several important reports on their research on who “we” are and where we are. We are everywhere and seem to be going into the “red” areas of the nation, including as families.
And there is new work at the Columbia University Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic that helped get asylum for a Jamaican who feared harm if he returned home.
Several gay/lesbian publications gave their readers Lisa Keen’s column on the Human Rights Campaign’s list of gay-friendly companies/businesses. The list has grown each year. This would have made Don Slater and other pioneers happy since it means that private enterprise has been ahead of the government in giving us equal/civil rights even though many governments have also worked for domestic partner benefits and civil unions over the year.
Obviously the most important legal advance was the ending of the sodomy laws in the Lawrence vs Texas close decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Equally important an advance is legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts and in theory the equal “marital” rights in civil unions in New Jersey and other states.
I believe the media has slowly gotten better. And I believe that the entertainment “industry” has gotten much better — starting with the movie of the decade, Brokeback Mountain. And intelligent homosexual characters in major television shows such as Brothers and Sisters. These shows have discussed our issues better than some of us have.
When C-SPAN gives us coverage of a great speech by a homosexual preacher (in this case Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson) at a university (NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale FL), there can be no excuse for homosexuals and our allies to not know what resources are available to discuss religion and homosexuality. And we can spread news of such shows by cell phones and the Internet, neither of which were available to our pioneers.
The dropping of the “T” coverage in the ENDA bill in congress has gotten our movement/community to discuss not only the relationship among our various parts — although I seldom hear anything on bisexuality — but how we can work in politics for our cause?
We have a dozen or so gay/lesbian libraries/archives, all of which need support from our media and community, and at least that number of really good newspapers and magazines. There are queer courses at almost every major university, as well as gay and lesbian groups at the colleges.
Our causes seems to have not been slowed no matter who was president or who controlled congress. That is an interesting sociological fact that needs to be investigated and explained.
So it seems to me that we have great reasons to feel gay and celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming decade. Even though we will loose more pioneers, we will hopefully add new pioneers for the coming century.