Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pride And Victory For All LGBTQ Individuals In An Entire Nation On The Verge Of Extremely Positive Change!

               To conclude this months series of blogs regarding LGBTQ Pride, there seems to be almost too much to explain. Nationwide history was made this weekend. Only under a decade ago, Proposition 8 allowed for same sex marriage rights to be ripped away from citizens of the state of California. This week the supreme court officially ruled DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) as unconstitutional. This of course overturned California's Prop 8. While this closes the door to another ugly prejudice in a nation always preaching equality, two more major issues were decided on in Washington-one an important minority voting clause that was remanded and the other successful citizenship reform for immigrants. This is two major steps forward with only one major step back for American justice. And while not perfect by any means, it is a major start.

                 In an interesting way, these events paralelled a very fullfilling pride month for me personally. Knowing full well that I would spend that month writing blogs about my views on different LGBTQ related issues, I also found myself getting far more involved with local Pride festivities in my area than I ever had. Last summer was the first time I marched in a Pride parade. And this year would be my second. What happened was the local Pride organization decided to try a special Art Walk that would include painting,
photography spoken word and dance the Thursday before the parade. I decided to participate by submitting three of my paintings for display: two of which were portraits of famous LGBTQ historical activists Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk. So the best way I feel to present this blog is as a written diary of sorts about my experiences in this historical several days for the LGBTQ community.

                First thing I did on the day that DOMA was defeated was attend a screening of a film called Gen Silent, a documentary discussing the stories of several LGBTQ seniors and the difficulties they still face with prejudice and health care. Betsy Smith, a major leader in the local LGBTQ community introduced the film announcing the defeat of DOMA to a round of applause-including from myself. The second thing I did was attend the Art Walk the next  night. It was a magnificent event. Seeing my paintings professionally displayed for the first time,talking to other art lovers about them. I visiting many other artists at different locations in downtown Bangor-one of whom was a singer whom I indirectly helped promote via a Facebook friend. There was also a complimentary tango lesson at the end of the evening. This was something I'd never done before. Hearing one has natural rhythm is very esteem boosting indeed for anyone.

               Third thing I did was attend the Pride parade of course. I was a bit nervous with rain and possible lightening storms in the forecast  Happily the rain held out enough for the parade and the festivities. Myself and someone I have very strong feelings were given the opportunity to hold up the pride flag for all to see. I gave victory/peace signs with my hand to the cheering crowd. Once we got to the festivities, different speakers from the head of EqualityMaine, the Bridge Alliance and a minister from the local Unitarian Church spoke about how vital and entrenched LGBTQ rights have become in our local town law. After that I was asked by a reporter for the local newspaper to have my picture taken and make a comment on video for a story they were running about the Pride festival.

              With all the delight and joy of the Pride Festival, the announcers made it very clear that coming up was the 29th anniversary of the murder of a homosexual man named Charlie Howard in the city of Bangor. There is a memorial in town we were all encouraged to visit. Today I didn't have a chance. But I fully intend to. I am firmly of the opinion that in order for human rights to advance in any way, its appropriate that humans continue to regard all the events of our past-positive and negative not as an anchor rooting us forever to the past, but rather as a peaceful guardian and protector as we all continue on our unique and uncertain individual and societal journeys through this thing called life. And this week I can thank the United States Of America for defeating DOMA and making this a week to truly celebrating human love,tolerance and understanding.

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