Proud and Feeling it!
In working with The Stonewall Library & Archives the past 7 or so years I’ve not only been exposed to a ton (40 tons actually) of GLBT history but I’ve touched it, moved it and tried to explain it to countless city and county government people. For those who aren’t familiar with our work, The Stonewall Library & Archives has been a privately run non-profit for over 35 years. This year, the sum of many years work, we moved into Broward County/City of
One of the most striking examples of the change we have experienced as open and proud GLBT men and women is in the ‘how’ of our expressions. Pre-Stonewall, in the 1950’s and 1960’s, homosexuality was seen as a crime and deviant behavior. Our movement was for the most part in the shadows and the visible protests were polite and reserved with gay men in suits and ties and lesbians in full skirts and makeup. What a difference a few decades made in the emergence of the work PROUD. Like the difference between the first and second halves of the “Wizard of OZ”, our world became Technicolor. The certain misery of being closeted so outweighed the potential for happiness that many gays and lesbians were willing to risk it. It was not safe then and is not safe now, but come out and come out PROUD we must.
Harvey Milk’s famous quote – “ “We must destroy the myths once and for all…and most importantly, every gay person must come out. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, and we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie and every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all..” Gay rights are human rights. Often they are not perceived as human rights because some people still see gays and lesbians as subhuman. When we are in the closet we help perpetuate this stereotype.
Coming out helps others see us as real live human beings. Then it becomes clearer that we are not asking for special rights, simply human rights that all people deserve.
Many lesbian and gay people have not taken the time to think about why they are glad to be gay. After being taught absolutely no positives about being gay, many of us even wonder if there are any reasons to be glad to be gay.
Look around you. There are plenty of reasons to be glad to be gay. We are leaders. We are leaders because we challenge society to look at their inhumanity. Leaders because in spite of all the obstacles we face, we learn to love ourselves. We build healthy communities, reach out and give back to the same society that turned its back on us. There are many reasons to be proud. Are you just ‘okay’ with being gay or are you really proud?
Have a peaceful week.