At the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner last night, long-time activist Terry Bean and financial advice powerhouse Suze Orman called upon those present and the wider lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to act at this momentous point in our history where presidential and congressional elections will determine whether the LGBT community will come closer to its dream and right to be equal members of society or lose momentum and hard fought ground.
HRC President Joe Solmonese does not exaggerate when he writes that
… for the LGBT community, matters of life and livelihood hang in the balance of an election that is just one month away. In the coming years, some of the issues most critical to our community will be addressed in statehouses across the nation, in the halls of Congress, and in the White House, including employment discrimination, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and relationship recognition laws.
Most threatening, the potential outcomes in the race for the White House would yield radically different realities for all members of our community. Whereas Sen. Barack Obama has shown the LGBT community time and again that he understands that our community’s rights are civil and human rights, Sen. John McCain has been a consistent opponent of fairness and equality for our community.”
Terry Bean, who for decades have fought for LGBT rights and along the way help found the Human Rights Campaign (1980) and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund (1991), challenges lesbian, gay and transgender women and men to ask their parents, siblings and friends a simple question.
How can you say you love me when you vote for people and laws that demean me? I add, how can you support and belong to groups and institutions that foster fear and hate of your daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and friends?
Suze Orman, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, was surprised to find people coming up to her at the event, thanking her for coming out. As she pointed out, she has never been in. Because as she passionately declared:
It is not easy to say I am a lesbian. It is not easy to say I am gay. It is not easy to say I am bisexual. It is not easy to say I am transgendered. It is not easy. But it is the Right. Thing to Do.
It is the right thing to do.
At this pivotal time, it is the right thing for all of us to visit and call our parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, and friends and to ask that they help us become equal members of society by voting Democratic. It is the right thing for all of us to come out, strong and proud, and say that we will no longer be silenced, ignored and left at the margins.