Well, people in Washington may be busy counting beans, but the one minority in this country against whom discrimination is still legal and enshrined into some 30 state Constitutions, violence against whom is still celebrated and seen as some sort of masculine achievement - has borne more than its fair share of the the pain.
We in the LGBT community have had to look on as LGBT employees in most of these United States can be terminated due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, as hate crimes against our communities go silently ignored by law enforcement, as our youth are threatened, harassed, beaten up and killed, as our families are left in legal limbo and as our very dignity as human beings is sullied. We watch the promise of a grateful nation become a myth when we drum out of our armed forces the people who have defended this country with honor and valor simply because they are gay. We see our fellow Americans stand by and even celebrate as the worshiper of a bloody, vengeful, sadistic God advocate for the murder of gays from the pulpit. We watch as the followers of those supposed houses of God refuse to even consider that the true being of their God may actually be more like the Son of their God - benevolent, graceful and loving. In 2009, we watch helplessly as the news of the stabbing of two transgender Americans (one of whom dies) takes place in our nation's capital, and the "news" media hardly bats an eye.
Yet, we stand on the edge of history. We elected large majorities in Congress friendly to our communities. We elected a president, who in his own words is a fierce advocate for our cause. Still, 10 months after Barack Obama's historic victory and over seven months into his presidency supported by a Democratic Congress, what have we seen? Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still the law of the land. If you fall in love with someone of the same sex and want them to live in the greatest country in the world, well, you are shit out of luck. Federal law still allows employers to discriminate against employees and perspective employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We still do not recognize, as a country, hate crimes against members of our communities to actually be hate crimes. We are still denied the fundamental federal rights and privileges married straight couples take for granted.
Why? What have we done to deserve that? What makes our equal dignity and equal rights less important? Ain't I an American?
It's time, Mr. President. It's time. It's time to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and give all loving couples the same rights under law. It's time to honor those who risk their lives for the safety of their fellow Americans by repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It is time to ban discrimination in employment in America. It's time to hunt down and prosecute the perpetrators of hate crimes against our community as just that - hate crimes. It's time for us to end hoping for change. It's time for hope to rise up and deliver. And frankly, Mr. President, it's time for courage and leadership. This is the gay agenda, and we have waited long enough.