I am perplexed by the voices in popular media asking whether or not we, as a community, should continue to celebrate Pride in a “post-gay world.” What concerns me most is that there are people who think the “world” is “post-gay” just because SCOTUS narrowly ruled in our favor on DOMA, or because we are blessed to live in a District of Columbia where the recognition of fundamental equality for all people no longer takes a back seat to the narrow view of a dwindling minority who think their beliefs trump my right to have the local, state and federal government recognize and respect my marriage to the person I love.
I would suggest that we live in an age that is anything but “post-gay,” and we have an obligation to continuously remind our fellow citizens, from the East and West Coasts and all points in between, that the strides we have made to attain full equality before the law have not and will not be taken for granted…not now, and not in the future. When the day arrives that “the first gay X” or “the first lesbian Y” is no longer news — and is no longer used as red meat for a political fringe that seems to have an extraordinary amount of influence in our national dialogue — when that day arrives, only then can we think about putting down our flags and wrapping up our parades.
I grew up in a time and place where I felt marginalized by society and the government, simply for the way I was born. I had the means to move away from that place, but there are still many people who live there, and still many allies who are willing to fight for the cause.
Make no mistake, I am proud today of what our community has accomplished…and amazed at the speed with which generations of institutionalized homophobia is being swept away. But I am also proud because I know the future is bright for the gay or lesbian teenager in rural South Carolina who, like me some 30 years ago, is struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in a place that has the power to make them feel less than human.
Happy Pride 2014. Until the battle is completely won, we have a lot of celebrating to do.