I saw a picture today of a young gay couple standing next to an older heterosexual couple. Then, I noticed that the two men were holding up their hands to show their wedding rings and the older couple must be one of their parents. It brought tears to my eyes, and I don’t even know these guys. What went through my mind was, isn’t it wonderful that we live in a time when not only can two people in love marry, but a majority of the country supports our rights?
Those of us at a certain age, as the saying goes — simply translated: old, a word I personally love — we have lived during a time when nothing about our community was appreciated. In fact, we were called criminals, immoral and mentally ill, were not allowed to gather in groups, were not anyone you would want to be seen with. And all of that began to change in the 1960s.
We old folks have had a front-row seat (some of us had that seat in a police wagon) to watch as this nation’s attitudes changed, but also how the community views itself evolved, along with the expectations of our youth for themselves. These young people can literally dream of getting married and raising a family. Do you realize how amazing that is, and the effort it took to get us to this place in history?
Well, in a couple of weeks we’ll enter October, which is LGBT History Month, and our community’s media will, in various ways, tell some of those stories. Our history is amazing and something that fascinates me. Two factoids that often amaze people: Our LGBT-rights struggle didn’t start at Stonewall, but really in 1925 by a man named Henry Gerber, who organized the first gay-rights organization in Chicago. The other is a major piece of U.S. history: Without gay man Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, George Washington might have lost the Revolutionary War.
But back to the personal. Each time I see two men or two women portrayed happily, I think of what it took to get to this point. I know someone will make the point of Trump here, but that is looking at things with a glass-half-empty view. I like to look at it half full — and we earned each drop.
Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. His recently published memoir, "And Then I Danced," is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite bookseller. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at https://twitter.com/PhilaGayNews.
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