Mainstream media seems to believe the recent gay rights victories in the political and social arenas will inevitably result in a step backwards for gay equality. I must admit, the pressures from right-wing conservatives and the Vatican have heightened, but is their voice any different or more harsh than it's always been?
The positive advances in gay rights (stricken sodomy laws, same-sex marriage in Canada, openly gay clergymen) haven't altered the opinions or policies of homophobic politicians and institutions. They were never our friends before recent events and won't be after this push for gay equality. President Bush and the Catholic Churchhave never been known as gay supporters, so why the sudden fear?Could it be that their voices are currently louder than ours?
Gay equality has been an lingering and taboo issue until recently, forcing moderate citizens and politicians to take a stance one way or the other. We as a community are faced with a challenge thathas the potential to change the lives of gays for decades to come. Was there not a "backlash" during the march on Stonewall? Were there not loudly vocalized opinions and threats of legal action during the passing of the same-sex marriage law in Canada? Were there not pressures from powerful anti-gay adversaries before the opening of the first gay public high school? Yet we prevailed; just as the original marches at Stonewall did.
Sure, it's easier for us to take the advice of those afraid of change and be content with current levels of "gay tolerance;" watching silently as our children lose even the existing rights those before us so diligently achieved. But isn't it far more rewarding topush for equal rights- rights few dreamed possible?
If youchoose not to join in the new rally for gay equality for yourself, then consider the future of our gay youth, family and friends who will be greatly affected by the events that are happening today. Make history bycontributing tothe gay rights movement of the new millennium! There will always be a backlash from those that oppose gays, but it's up to us to overcome it and march forward.