Thanksgiving traditionally has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. At dot429, we take this opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of LGBT professionals and the community’s efforts to continue moving forward. LGBT Americans have come a long way from the Stonewall Riots. We persevered through the AIDS epidemic and dealt with tragedies like the death of Matthew Shepard. Our community has adapted to crisis and grown through an era of great controversy. Although we still have issues to face, including gay bullying and gay marriage, on this day, we can unite in our gratitude for the triumphs already achieved. We can reflect on the ways our lives are bettered by all the change that has already occurred. When suicides happen, we reach out our hand, expressing that “It Gets Better.” When gay marriage is denied, we continue to thrive and fight against the “H8.” While there is still a long road ahead for all LGBT Americans, we can be grateful for the progress we have made.
As dot429’s Editor, I am appreciative of living in an age when a site like dot429 can exist. Twenty years ago, it was a rarity to find an openly gay executive at a Fortune 500 company or a publicly “out” celebrity. A couple weeks ago, the country’s first transgendered person was elected to the judiciary. LGBT Americans have increasingly greater opportunities to serve openly in a wide array of professions. I am grateful that I am part of an organization that brings these professionals together.
I was moved by a recent email from one of our dot429 members in Chile. She pointed out how difficult it still is to be an openly gay professional in many places on this planet. She stated:
“I read every article I possibly can and it’s refreshing to know that the community can be and is so strong, at least somewhere. The personal stories are extremely special to me. As a young professional barely out of the closet, these stories are inspiring and have been increasingly shaping my decision to be myself 137%.”
Her email made me pause and give thanks for the great inspiration our members provide to those who are less fortunate. After receiving her email, I decided to reach out to members of our community whose accomplishments had a similar affect on me. I asked these LGBT leaders to share their Thanksgiving gratitude with dot429. Here is what they had to say:
- “I’m thankful that so many in our community are at last vociferously demanding full federal equality in all matters governed by civil law. We deserve no less.” — Dustin Lance Black
- “Now, more than ever, LGBT people and issues are visible across news, entertainment, and online media platforms, helping others to understand the common ground we all share. For that, I am not only thankful, but I am hopeful that we’ll see even greater progress in 2011.” — Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
- “At The Trevor Project, we’re thankful for the outpouring of support that has recently occurred because of the heightened visibility of young people who died by suicide. From Chris Colfer to President Obama, we’re humbled by the chorus of voices that have contributed to the ‘It Gets Better’ project. It does get better, but we all need to make it better.” — Charles Robbins, Executive Director and CEO of The Trevor Project
- “I’m grateful for the hard work of all of the LGBT activists who have contributed to the enormous progress that we’ve seen over the course of the last decade, especially in addressing the pervasive discrimination and violence faced by transgendered and gender-variant people in our society. We still have a long way to go before we achieve full equality, but we’ve made a lot of progress since NYAGRA was founded in 1998.” — Pauline Park, Chair of New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
- “I am thankful that it appears the tide is turning in the U.S. in favor of equal rights for LGBT citizens. Despite setbacks from time to time, progress is being made on issues such as hospital visitation (The Family Health Care Decisions Act) to Gay Marriage (the recent court ruling invalidating Proposition 8 in California) to the possible elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (recent court ruling and possible Senate repeal). Even though we have a long way to go to achieve full equality, attitudes are changing significantly, and for that, I am truly thankful this year.” — Wiliam Kapfer, EVP, Edge Media Network
So, on this Thanksgiving, while we continue to hope for better times ahead, we can all take a moment to give thanks for all we have achieved to this point.