Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 061715 Contents 24 // 6.17.2015 // SFGN.com // soflagaynews // SouthFloridaGayNews
Sunshine Today and Stonewall
column publisher's editorial
If you take part in the Stonewall Festival on Saturday
in Wilton Manors, remember that what is today
a parade was yesterday a protest; what is today a
festival, was once a fight.
Sunday, June 28, 2015 will mark the 46th anniversary
of the Stonewall Riots. In 1969, in the Greenwich Village
section of New York City, members of the gay community
rallied in unison against a police raid at a bar named the
'Stonewall Inn.' We fought back. For once, we said no to
bullying's and beatings, abuse and ostracism.
Decades later, we celebrate the day, but continue
the fight. The difference today is that law enforcement
no longer persecutes us. It protects us. Laws no longer
discriminate against us. They ensure our rights are equal.
In 1969, as man was landing on the moon for the first
time, America was still only taking baby steps for LGBT
rights. It was a different era. We may have had music and
free love at Woodstock, but it celebrated heterosexual
hedonism, not gay partners.
Decades ago, gays were forced to live in the shadows. We
were ostracized and outlawed. We were deviant. We were
unfit. We were blackmailed. We were 'cured' with electro
shock therapy. We were apart from the community, not a
part of it.
If a just man stands his ground, and there abides,
eventually the whole world will come around to him.
Today, we celebrate in the sunshine, not in the shade.
We have lost many friends along the way. There have
been too many suicides, too many overdoses, too many
mental health issues, and far too many losses due to AIDS.
There were jail sentences and electro shock
treatments for sodomites. Today, there are
Mack Mixers. We have overcome. Justice
Today, there is a World AIDS Museum
and Stonewall Library in Wilton Manors.
There is a Pride Center at Equality Park
and the Harvey Milk Foundation. We
have SunServe, Out of the Closet, the
AIDS Health Care Foundation, Broward
House and Care Resources all reaching
out to our community. We have Seniors in
a Gay Environment and Pridelines Youth
Services. We have gay choruses and softball
leagues, swim teams and flag football.
We have each other's backs.
Gay pride marches are now held from Sydney, Australia
to South Florida, celebrations of a struggle we must still
enthusiastically engage. As much as we can appreciate
equality at home, there is still hate abroad. In pockets of
Eastern Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, there are injustices
against the LGBT communities every
day. In Wilton Manors, the mayor
raises the gay flag at City Hall. There are
still places like Russia where that same
act could get you arrested, so let's not
assume that all is right with the world.
We have made progress, but pushing
forward is a slow procession. Thirty
years ago, the American Psychiatric
Association voted to remove
homosexuality from the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court
repealed all sodomy laws. This year,
they will repeal 'defense of marriage'
acts that unconstitutionally inhibit
gay and lesbian couples from marrying
These are things you can't forget.
A gay soldier, Leonard Matlovich,
wrote on his tombstone "when I was
in the Army, they gave me a medal for
killing two men, but threw me out for
As you watch the parade this weekend, walk shirtless
down Wilton Drive, consume a drink here or there from
the local pub, don't forget Leonard Matlovich or the
Matthew Shepards and Harvey Milks of days past. You
stand proudly today because of what they did for you
Still, Stonewall is not just about our past. It is about
our future. We are male and female, and transgender.
But we are one, we are together, and we are united in our
assertions of equality for all. This commitment should
override our differences. It should allow for diversity and
discourse within our own circle.
Stonewall is a celebration for everyone, not a distillery
promoting a new vodka, or a media company hosting
entertainment stages. No, that is not what we are about.
We are a community of many identities, but none more
important than your unique individuality. Shakespeare
said it best, "This above all, to thine own self be true, and
it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be
false to any man."
Be as you are and in the right place you will be.
Photo: J.R. Davis.
Links Archive SFGN 062415 Navigation Previous Page Next Page