The Road is Long But We’re Still Walking

Eight-striped rainbow flag. Drawn by Fibonacci.

Eight-striped rainbow flag. Drawn by Fibonacci. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a busy week it has been in the LGBT world. It is amazing how much can happen in so short a time. I wish I could say it has all been good, but it has not, and some of it that has looked good, I have a hard time seeing in a fully positive light. We have come so far, yet there is so very far to go. Still, we keep on walking.
Let us start out with the good news first though, the unqualified good news. Our friends to the north have elected their first gay premier. I may be overstating it, and please, if someone knows otherwise I would love to know, but I believe Kathleen Wynne has achieved a status never seen for our community. Never in the modern era has any queer individual held so high an office. The only comparisons can be from long ago eras with monarchs and warlords whose orientation has been speculated upon but never confirmed (Alexander et al.) So thank you Canada, for showing us how to get it right. Maybe the rest of the world will follow suit.
Unfortunately, on our side of the border, things could look a lot better. In Tennessee some state leaders want to take another crack at their “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have barred teachers for discussing anything but heterosexual relationships with children not at least in the 9th grade. For instance, if a child were to mention a gay uncle or aunt in class room a teacher would be required to direct conversation completely away from the issue. To make matters worse, this new iteration would require teachers in some cases to out a student to their parents. Coming out is a frightening situation for many LGBT youth, especially for those in states like Tennessee. I have a hard time believing that this is anything other than attempt to spread pain for those in a vulnerable position. The vigor with which those who attack us do so is frightening and I feel so much pain and sorrow for those kids who have to live in the specter of a decision like this. Even if it does not come to pass, it will still keep them afraid for so much longer.
On the national front we have the announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that they are considering no longer having a ban on gay scouts, at least as part of their national charter. This feels like it should be good news, except for two very important details. First, this is all going on behind closed doors., and only after the Scouts have lost a lot of popularity over the years because of their bigotry. Second of all, they will have no policy of non discrimination, meaning the various troops and local organizations, most run by church groups, will still be free to ban gay troops, in accordance with their own values. It is buck passing of the most cowardly kind. Smoke and mirrors meant to hide the fact that they Scouts will likely remain a homophobic institution all while pretending to be open.
Finally on to the Super Bowl. I don’t want to put too much import on this. It is only a game. The outcome of it will have no bearing on the future of our rights or acceptance. Still, it is hard not to look at two particular players and feel the energy. On the one hand you have Chris Culliver, and open homophobe who has made it clear he wants no gay team mates in his locker room. On the other, you have Brandon Ayanbadejo, who has bravely, for some time now, spoken out on LGBT rights.  People like Culliver are slowly disappearing as they learn or just fade away, but they are still out there, and it is sad when they use a platform like this to spread a message of hate. Again, it does not matter who wins, but this kid from a family full of Browns fans finds herself in the strange position of having to root for the team that broke her family’s heart because one of their players has the decency to stand up for folks like me. Whatever happens, I know Brandon, and the rest of us, will still walk this road to equality.


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