I dedicate this post to my dear friend of many years, Vic Basile. Vic was the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign at the beginning when it was the Human Rights Campaign Fund. I thought I was doing my bit working for the mayor of San Francisco, but Vic showed me the much larger scope of our problems with a hostile nation and was smart about dealing with the Jesse Helms of the world. If it weren’t for Vic, I don’t think we’d be here today.
I knew we’d come a far bit down the road to acceptance when every sitcom now has its de rigueur gay character. But, in the past week I knew we’d have made it very close to the finish line. First, Toronto Blue Jays player Yunel Escobar, not know for his friendship to our community, was slapped with a three-game suspension by the American League after he painted a gay slur on this eye-black during a Boston Red Sox game. Topping that is the Commonwealth Club, one of San Francisco’s most prestigious that asked Dan Savage not just to address their membership, but to address them in the Castro Theater. To me, that means the mainstream is ready to hear our stories. When they come to our turf, we’ve made it.
Over the years our struggle for civil rights was led by those who refused to sit in the back of the bus of city politics and those who worked within the system. Dan is completely open in all his interviews and columns, takes no prisoners and makes “out and proud’ feel like an anachronism. Dan is our finest spokesperson.
After smuggling announcing we’ve made it, I was reminded by man in Tennessee that millions of gay men and lesbians do not live in states and cities that are open and accepting. A recent PBS program on parents of gay and lesbian children then reminded me that 40% of youth in shelters are gay, lesbian, transgender or confused. For all of our brothers and sisters, there is much all of us still need to do. One battle has been won, but the war continues.