Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrating Stonewall & The Fighters

44 years ago today, I was 2 months old and starting my life.
Fighters in 1969


44 years ago, an amazing group of people  at the Stonewall bar in the NYC village decided 'enough was enough' and fought back in a raid against the LGBT community starting the gay rights movement - and doing so much for my life.

Sometimes it is hard to think about what it was like for those that came before us. I can recall growing up closeted in Texas in the 80s, but once I moved to NYC, I suddenly felt 'free'. It has taken a long time and a long fight, but more and more people are feeling that freedom without having to move to one of the larger cities in the country. I notice it when I travel. Gays no longer must go to the four or five major spots in the country where they all congregate for vacations - now you can find them EVERYWHERE.

We cannot forget the good fight of those present in 1969 in NYC. I was so lucky to be able to speak to one of them and interview him for Huffington Post this month. And I knew the significance of Stonewall when I was honored enough to have my book launch party there in 2011 for my debut novel. People continue to fight constantly. We saw it this week when the Supreme Court ruled on amazing cases because there are people willing to stand up and say "this is not right". 

Fighters in 2013
I've been with my partner for 13 years and five years ago this summer had a civil union in our state (because NJ does not allow marriage). Yet there are still places that I have to check 'single' on a form when filling it out. Our union is not considered the same as everyone else's. In many eyes, it is as if we are just 'playing pretend' while the rest of the world can celebrate their marriages.


I knew I was nervous waiting for the results to come back on Wednesday morning from SCOTUS, but I had no idea the amount of pride that would fill my chest and cause the tears to fall when it came across my computer. (And I got to share it with my sister as we happened to be on the phone at that exact moment.) Suddenly, people in power were noticing that my life, my partnership, my 'being' mattered just as much as my straight counterparts. It's a feeling I find hard to put into words, but there are many people across the country that had that same reaction.


And now we go into gay pride weekend in New York as the community remembers those people from 1969 and all the hard work that has happened since. It is an exciting time for our country and for those that support equality for all. If you still think the LGBT community is asking for too much: remember it is not special rights; just equal.

And for the haters out there - just go ahead and get your congress men and women to vote marriage equality through. Look at it this way: you'll get your June back as we won't need to celebrate "Pride" in one month any longer.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Greg,

    Is Gus from Twitter; I can relate to your story because in certain way is the story of many of us that we grew and live during the 70's, 80's and 90's under the restrictions as well DOMA. I was born and raised (almost entirely) in Cartagena, Colombia where much as the South is a religious country.

    I'd felt trapped so many times up to the point that I thought I wasn't going to be able to escape and death herself I thought was going to be my only option when I reached age 40 and I found myself trapped in a loveless marriage only to keep the appearances.

    Eventually I moved the United States and in the process of almost a decade I became a citizen (albeit I been living here only five years in a row) in Florida which is not in terms of politics the most friendliest State in much of the areas for LGTBQ individuals.

    I felt free and up to this day almost six years later I had lived more than I lived in 20 years in Colombia and I wouldn't change it a bit even with the ups and downs. In the process I also met my actual partner and is been almost 5 years since we know each other.

    I wonder if my life would be worst if I stay in Colombia.? or the influence I had on people here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gus - thanks so much for sharing your story. I think that those that have lived in the same country their whole lives can't always comprehend what it is like for others that grow up in one country and then move to another. Wishing you and your partner a very happy pride weekend!

      Delete