dan savage

 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.

ADDENDUM

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.

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2 Responses to dan savage

  1. William June 22, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Hello Chuck,
    My partner and I live in a very rural part of western PA. and our story of how we came to live here from a more “cosmopolitan” life in Buffalo NY is a long one I would love to share with you some day.
    But the real reason why I’m writing is to tell you… “WE” have not come all that far along in the rural, bible thumping, gun toting, proud-to-be-a-redneck parts of our great land we call home. The United States still has a long way to go.
    My partner (Husband in 11 states and DC) and I were welcomed and embraced in our little valley called East Run, by our 10 immediate neighbors when we arrived here 19 years ago. Beakman boys.. NOTHING !!! We were doing it almost 2 decades ago !
    But, go outside of our little valley of happiness and acceptance, and you’ll find intolerance, prejudice and aggression are still very strong family values.
    When Jon and I came here, we came here as a gay couple, blind to the ways of rural life in western pa. We arrived as an out couple, and made no bones about it. We did not “rub” anyone’s faces in our “gayness”, but we didn’t “hide” it either. Over the years, we have learned to keep well below the radar screen of life outside of our idealistic slice of paradise.
    I only want you to know, there are pockets of acceptance and tolerance all over the country, but in reality, the LGBT & Q community as a whole still has a long long way to go before we can claim “We are as good as there”.
    I hope I didn’t take the crunch out of your morning bowl of wheaties with my post… I just wanted to share with you a perspective from the “frontier edges of our battle for acceptance”.
    your friends from the “hinter-lands”
    Bill and Jon

    I’m not sure if the link below will take you to a blog I started and have not updated is a while, but if you do a google search for “Life in Eastrun” you’ll catch a glimpse of why we love it here so much.
    http://lifeineastrun.blogspot.com/

    • Chuck June 22, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      Bill and Jon,
      I welcome your story. I know I live in a place far different from millions of gay men. I grew up in Wisconsin still reeling from Joe McCarthy with friends who were Catholic of he kind of Lutherans who believe in hard work and no play, so I appreciate your having to stay below the radar. I hope, over time, people outside the valley will encounter men like you two because that’s the only way we change attitudes — by showing them who we really are.
      Thanks for your feedback, and I’ll try to find your blog.
      Chuck

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