Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 12 January 1998



Right now I'm really missing noted futurist Jeanne Dixon. Jeanne, now deceased, used to make sweeping predictions about the intimate lives of celebrities as well as events that would shape the year to come. While I'll miss her predictions, we don't have to predict the future to shape it. We need only to look to some of the events that ended 1997 for proof.

In November, President Clinton's Hate Crimes Summit brought together 200 leaders from around the country in an effort to wage a campaign against bias violence. The summit ended nearly a ten year effort by groups like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Anti-Defamation League to bring hate crimes to national recognition. This historic moment was rooted in long-term work and commitment.

In December, a judge ruled that two gay men may jointly adopt a child in their care. The judge recognized their commitment to their relationship and to the child. We need only to look to the hundreds of thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered couples and single parents that have raised children over the last 40 years. Politically and culturally these parents have moved our society forward, resulting in this moment.

When a Hawaii Court rules on same-gender marriage sometime early this year, it will very possibly change our society's view of same-gender marriage forever. The courage of the Hawaii marriage plaintiffs, the hard work of Hawaii organizers around sovereignty and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered issues, the dedication of the legal staff at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and efforts by hundreds of local, state and national organizations lay the foundation for the ruling.

When Maine voters go to the polls in February, it will be to hold onto their civil rights bill. Maine activists have already beat back a discriminatory ballot measure. That winning coalition resulted in a bill passed by the state legislature in 1997 that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered activists and their allies have steadily transformed the Maine landscape but the Right-wing conservatives won't give up. Neither will the Mainers.

In every city and in every town, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are creating change and shaping our history. Most of them do not think of themselves as more remarkable or more talented than their friends or neighbors. And in truth, they're not.

But they do feel called...called on to right a wrong, to tell a truth instead of an omission or lie, and to act instead of stand by. For some it is to come to visibility to friends, family or colleagues. To others it is to interrupt a homophobic joke or comment or to advocate for changes in their companies policies or practices. And for still others, it is to pass anti-discrimination laws in their town or state. These combined efforts have fundamentally changed society as we know it.

Most every American feels like they know a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person. Face it, Ellen and the over 20 gay characters on television and several film characters have helped with this effort.

Politicians court the GLBT voters. As the Victory Fund will attest, we're increasingly becoming elected officials. We need only look to the Congressional campaigns of Christine Kehoe, Tammy Baldwin and Margarethe Cammermeyer to realize that we have the capacity to make public policy in entirely new forums.

More and more laws benefiting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community are being introduced in state legislatures. The Federation of Statewide Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Political Organizations, coordinated by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is an unprecedented gathering of statewide groups led by a dynamic executive committee.

An energized and mobilized gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community that works to build coalitions with other communities is an unstoppable force for change. We don't need Jeanne Dixon or the futurists, to predict our future.

With each of our actions now, we write the list of accomplishments for our movement in 1998, 1999 and the next decade.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has worked to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people at the local, state and national level since its inception in 1973. As part of a broader social justice movement for freedom, justice and equality, NGLTF is creating a world that respects and celebrates the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society.

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