Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happy Gay Day Everybody!

I've decided to do something a little different this year.  Instead of Maurice Chevalier singing "Up On Top of a Rainbow," I'll let Freddy Mercury speak for us this time.  We do indeed have a lot to celebrate this year, and a lot of fights remaining out there.
To all our friends I say, we love you all; you're the best friends anyone could have.
And to our enemies I say, In Your Face!

Diana Davies' photograph of Marty Robinson and Tom Doerr during a zap of the Nelson Rockefeller campaign headquarters in New York in 1970.  They were both arrested soon after this picture was taken.  Both eventually died of AIDS; Tom in 1987, and Marty in 1992.

Gay Day parade in New York in 2012, my picture.  How far we've all come since that first picture 42 years before the one above!  What was once the seemingly futile gestures of a brave handful of people grew into a huge mass political movement that is now global in scope as expectations are awakening around the world.  All this was accomplished in the face of persecution, violence, plague, marginalization, government policies, religious pronouncements, criminal exploitation, etc.  After years of enduring setbacks, it appears that in the West the tipping point is finally here, and decades of work and struggle are rapidly coming to fruition.  So much has happened since the 2012 parade pictured above:  the end of DOMA, the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Marriage Equality spreading rapidly through the states and internationally.

As Freddy Mercury sang, "Don't stop me now!"

Governments see us as issues to be dealt with or as obstacles to be removed.
Many religions see us as demons or as aberrations of nature.
Social scientists see us as case studies.
Businesses see us as a marketing demographic.
Thugs and demagogues see us as easy prey.
For generations, people knew us first as locker-room jokes.
Then people began to meet us and get to know us as family, friends, and colleagues.
We are not abstractions and we never were.
People realized that all we want is what everyone is entitled to from birth -- freedom and dignity.

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