Just over four decades ago, a group of courageous LGBT Americans in a bar called Stonewall decided to fight back against their oppressors. Their brave action set off a revolution that has sparked action around the world. Like the shot at hill at Lexington or Rosa Parks refusing to move, the world was changed by the Stonewall Insurrection.
Over the decades since those brave actions we have seen an AIDS epidemic that all but wiped out a generation of gay males. Countless ballot measures have been passed that systematically stripped away the rights of LGBT Americans. Religious leaders attempted to establish a system of Apartheid in American for LGBT citizens. Hideous hate crimes that was most dramatically symbolized by the death of Matthew Shepard on a fence in Wyoming. Our LGBT youth are killing themselves in record numbers out of hopelessness and bullying.
The times were often dark, deadly and devastating.
Despite these awful times, there emerged a community of courage, dignity and one that was determined to be free. Never once in those decades did this group of noble LGBT Americans falter in their battle for freedom. Even in the midst of the death and devastation of AIDS, those on the verge of dying still came to the marches and were arrested in their last days.
Generations to come will tell this story of a heroic movement, at times on their last legs, emerging triumphant with their soul and spirit free of hate and filled with love.
Who would have thought, even five years ago, that the movement for full equality for LGBT Americans would have moved so fast? None of us could have imaged a week like this past one with the Supreme Court of the United States issuing two rulings moving us dramatically forward to eventual victory. None of us could have imagine the overwhelming support that appeared in the media and from millions of straight allies. None of us could have imagined the state of California moving within days to married its LGBT citizens.
The speed and depth of the change this week has been breath-taking!
Much still remains to be done.
The Court did not give us nationwide marriage. ENDA has not been passed and people are still being fired from their jobs for their sexual orientation. Even in New York State, they failed to pass protections for our Transgender brothers and sisters. The situation in places like Africa and Russia is becoming deadly and a crisis.
The more we are successful the more the brutal hate crimes are increasing on our city streets and country roads.
LGBT Americans will face the new challenges as we faced the old challenges with bravery and dignity. Victory will come to our community and the end is in site. With the winds of the Supreme Court at our back, we are more determined and stronger than ever.
So take a few moments and relish this past week then roll up those sleeves and lets finish this job.Happy LGBT Pride to all my brothers and sisters.