Some days it’s felt like it’s just R and I against the world (and, when I think of our boys now, I know the world doesn’t stand a chance ;-)). As I don’t exactly fit into the traditional gay culture or LDS culture, it has sometimes felt like I was a man without a culture, and it was only up to us to defend what we feel is important.
This is an old, bad habit of mine; it’s not true. The “gay community” is not what it was when I was a teen; it’s not what it was when we left it. It’s no longer “traditional” and neither is the LDS culture. Everything has changed in the last decade and we’ve changed too.
Last night’s Equality Utah Allies Dinner, was a great example of how much has changed (a small article on it is in the D-News). Near 1000 people filled the Salt Palace Grand Ballroom. There were politicians from the county council, to the school boards, to the legislatures, a record number of endorsements (37) and candidates looking for endorsement (56).
A local politician, a wonderful conservative LDS man, gave a great speech, upon accepting the event’s award. He eloquently explained why he took a stand against our state's anti-gay politics, and why the rights of our families are important to everyone. One odd note: He related his experience being called to task by legislators, after he ran a session teaching gays and lesbians how to become delegates. A nameless legislator had the gall to tell him gays shouldn’t even be voting, let alone delegates (I wonder who that was? ;-)). Simply, this is a man who makes me feel grateful to be a Utahn, and not so bad when I vote republican :-).
Neil Giuliano, the former four-term mayor of Tempe, Arizona, and now the President of GLAAD was the keynote speaker. It was another wonderful and humorous speech regarding the changing public opinion. He made a point of highlighting that is was in the 1970’s when more than 50% of the population began advocating for non-discrimination of gays in the workplace. On equal rights and responsibilities for our families, though, there’s a ways to go.
But with the help of all those good people, it doesn’t seem that long of a ways this morning.
So many great gay folks were there, form our very handsome pediatrician for whom my mom is desperate to find a husband (email her, not me :-)), to our fellow dads, to our great lesbian friends. But we’d get nowhere by ourselves, without our allies, families, and friends. We are just too small a minority and perpetually so. All of us, all GLBT are in great debt to our many straight allies. It takes an all too rare sense of empathy and justice to feel our cause is important to them, and I hope we all feel the need to do the same, in similarly helping others, those not in “our group”.
I tried to thank my parents for coming again last night, and generously donating. They refused to take credit, saying simply it’s what they want to do. The crack in my voice usually conveys what I’m feeling, but I hope they know. I hope they all know.