Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy LGBT Pride Month!

June is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City, one of the seminal events in gay history and the fight for civil rights.

It's also LGBT Pride Month. This isn't just something we, the gay community came up with. This is national. This is official.

President Barack Obama issued this proclamation at the start of the month.

Now, I've heard a lot of grumbling recently about how the president said he was a Friend Of Gays and would fight for our rights, but hasn't done so since we helped get him elected. I've heard some people say this proclamation is just another empty gesture.

I have to disagree.

It wasn't so long ago, i.e., before the most recent election, that the president of the country refused to issue such a proclamation, saying it was political and divisive. (Note the terribly irony of that!)

I'm thrilled to have a president that will talk about issues that affect the LGBT community. Look at what this proclamation says:

"My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States."

That's an amazing affirmation.

(My sole complaint is that the m-word (marriage) is nowhere in there. Now that 12% of the country has legalized marriage equality, it's clear that the fairness train has left the station. Our country's executive needs to come on board sometime soon, and the sooner the better!)

I'm happy to have this. Sure, it is just a gesture, but gestures mean something. Look at what he says:

"During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

He calls for people working together for equal rights. He includes sexual orientation AND gender identity.

I'm willing to take him at his word.

"I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists."

So say we all - happy Pride month!

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