Written by R. D. Balsa Wednesday, 07 March 2012 00:00
Since this March is the zenith of the Republican primary season, it inspired me to slip into a daydream the other day. Imagine if the LGBT community was a political party. And, this party has managed to find, fund and put forth a highly viable candidate to compete against the current herd of Republicans. Imagine that we lived in country where all citizens actually voted for the most honorable, resolute and accomplished candidate. I dare say the LGBT candidate would win by a landslide! Since politics has always been in the business of 'what have you done for me lately', the LGBT candidate would have a seemingly endless list of successes on which to run.
The fact is that the last 18 months have been a banner time for the community. New York became the sixth and largest state to pass gay marriage legislation with overwhelming support; including votes by four Republicans! Just last month, Washington State proudly became the seventh. September saw an end to the antiquated “don't ask, don't tell” Clinton-era policy which worked mostly on paper, but seldom in reality. In December, secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered the first ever speech to the UN Human Rights Commission in which she demanded human rights for LGBT communities across the world.Our mythological LGBT candidate would not rest on his laurels. No sir! He would rely on the occasional cliché such as 'we must strike while the iron is hot' and remind us that while our community is riding high on a wave of recent accomplishments, much still needs be done. He would put out a laundry list of promises he intends to keep and declare that while New York has always been a trend-setter, 43 other states have yet to legalize gay unions. “We must continue surging forward” he would proclaim, “until all Americans are afforded equal marriage rights under the law regardless of where they live or who they love.”
Next, he would reiterate that while the right to serve openly in the military is an historic triumph for the thousands of gay men and women who do so every year, the military has yet to grant same sex-spouses the same insurance and post-military life benefits bestowed to heterosexual service personnel. He would regard this as categorically unacceptable. He would further encourage us to be mindful of the daily struggles of our transgendered friends who endure a disproportionate amount of taunting and ridicule from the ignorant masses prone to such idiocy. As the community within our community that is often and indirectly made to feel as outsiders, we must simply do a better job of including them in our efforts, not just having them benefit residually from our success.
Lastly, he would be enormously saddened by the fact that the last 18 months have seen a record number of teenagers commit suicide as a result of relentless harassment. Many of these innocent souls were singled out because they were perceived as gay/lesbian/transgendered. While fist-pumping and podium-striking he would demand national anti-bullying legislation and loudly pronounce that “not one of our notable achievements means anything if we fail to protect and provide a safe haven for the next generation. Strides have been made and a few state laws have been passed, but we must consolidate our efforts further to make sure every child, gay or straight, is free to be the person he or she was born to be!” What a man! I can dream, can't I?
© 2011 by R. D. Balsa. All Rights Reserved.