June. Summer. Kids running free and the smell of chlorine. PRIDE month is happening all over the globe. Nu? Many of you must be just a bissel ( a little bit) interested in the gay agenda? Come, sit. Let me tell you a story about a yearning to fight inequality in the form of a rainbow.
Way back in June of 1970 (
that is effing 47 years ago people), the very first Pride Parade took place in New York City (my Little, she calls it, ‘You Nork’) to honor the Stonewall Riots of 1969. This event clearly marked the beginning of the long, hard struggle known as the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the US. One single pride parade has bravely morphed and grown into festivals, parties, galas (this group, we know a little something about throwing parties!) and month-long celebrations all over the US and around the world. Why you ask? There is something so very freeing in leaving the cloak of invisibility behind. To celebrate lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, and queer culture, family, and, well PRIDE! You see my friends, this is one group that knows how important it is to rejoice in everyone’s unique and special differences. Insert glitter here!
In 1997, a short couple of decades ago, Ellen DeGeneres made television history by having her character, come out as a lesbian on TV. In pure Ellen-comedic-fashion, she accidentally announced over the loudspeaker at the airport to her love interest, played by (straight) Laura Dern, “I’m gay.” Nobody had ever done this before on TV. Hate mail, death threats and at least one bomb threat would happen before the show titled, “The Puppy Episode,” aired. This title had a hidden meaning — everyone knows a puppy gets bigger. And everyone on this show knew this was an issue that would also grow. “The Puppy Episode” ranked #35 in the top watched television episodes of all time and won an Emmy. What followed was quite the ruckus in tv land. Major advertisers bowed out, and the show was canceled shortly thereafter. Her career was in turmoil for several long years. But our Ellen, she persevered. Her brave and historic outing, of both her character and herself, eventually made it a lot more ‘okay’ for the sweet, funny girl next store to also be gay. Ellen, you are my hero!
Meanwhile, mitten drinnen (in the middle) of all of this gay history and lots of tsuris (trouble) and violence, a long time ago (in 1963), two nice Yiddisheh young women met (Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer) and fell in love. After a long and beautiful 40+ year engagement, loving each other in sickness (Thea bravely battled MS) and in health, Edie and Thea went to Canada to tie the knot in 2007. It was legal there. In 2008, living in New York (You Nork) and in their 70’s, they fought to be legally recognized as a married couple and won. They spent their last two years together as a happily married couple. Sadly, in 2009, Thea died, leaving her entire estate to Edie, as spouses often do… Edie rightfully claimed the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses, and the IRS said, NOPE. You see, under Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the word ‘spouse’ is defined as a union between a man and a woman. Opposite-sex partners only need apply. Same-sex married couples were excluded from the 1500+ laws and benefits that straight married couples get automatically. Edie had no choice but to fork over more than $360,000.00 in estate taxes. By 2010, Edie, no stranger to fighting injustice, sued the federal government under DOMA for a full refund. Her case rose to the highest court in the land, and in 2013, the 9 Supremes heard The United States v. Windsor. On June 26, 2013, in a landmark 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Edie, saying that DOMA was unconstitutional. Edie, petite, near deaf and a feisty 70-something, brought respect, dignity, and protection under the law to the LGBTQ community. Edie, you too are my hero!
Picking up right where Edie left off, another major case made its way to the nine robed judges. Enter Obergefell v. Hodges, representing 4 same-sex couples. Not asking for a special new law or even special protection under the law, they challenged the 14th Amendment and simply asked to have the equal right to enter knowingly in the fundamental right to marry, just like any other straight couple in love. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court passed Marriage Equality for all in the US. In a 5-4 victory, equality won. Same-sex marriage was now legal in all of these United States. We danced and sang and kissed and declared a jubilant victory over this newfound constitutional right. President Obama said, live from the Rose Garden, “Today, we can say, in no uncertain terms, that our union is a little more perfect.” He went on to say that this, “affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.” HEROES, all of them!
In 2016, Ellen DeGeneres made the news again, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yes, my man POTUS 44, Barack Obama, recognized how Ellen has made extraordinary contributions to the betterment of our culture. He said, about Ellen, “A single individual can make the world a more fun, more open, more loving place.”
One year ago, the very worst (by the numbers of those killed) of all
too, too many mass shootings in the US, occurred in Orlando, Florida, at the Pulse Nightclub, a known gay bar. A cowardly, disturbed man walked in and shot dead 49 people in a place they felt safe and happy — and yes, it was during PRIDE month. This was deemed a hate crime because it happened in Florida. But, know that in many states across the US, this would not be the case. Many states have no laws to protect the LGBTQ community. In Pennsylvania, where I live with my Mrs., and our kinder (children), one can still legally be fired for being LGBTQ. No joke…
So PRIDE month is significant. It is important for much more than the extreme news footage of drag queens, roller-skating trannies, nearly naked men, and bare-chested lesbians. It is important that we, all of the LGBTQ community and our straight friends, family, and allies continue to fight the inequality that remains today. We pay homage to all those that fought the very hard battles before us and paved the way for the new freedoms and ease we now experience. And we continue to speak to the discrimination and hate that is very much a part of today’s world.
Please notice, every victory was a squeaker, 5-4 decisions. mr t, he ran his campaign saying he would be good to the LGBTQ community. Some believed him — not this lefty-liberal-lesbian. He appointed Pence as his Veep, a known supporter of gay conversion therapy — the old, ‘pray the gay away.’ He appointed ultra-conservative Gorsuch to the bench to replace the vacancy left by Scalia. Gorsuch has some deeply disturbing rulings against the trans community and will very likely be a strong adversary of LGBTQ rights, as was Scalia. The tweeter in chief himself has made 5 proclamations so far for the month of June. Breaking presidential tradition, not one includes June as Pride month. Not one word, not one tweet, not one mention of my community. mr t is one small-minded man.
In all of these cases, we have won by one. We all need to come together for the sake of LOVE because it is really that plain and simple.