In light of Supreme Court rulings impacting gay rights, DeAndra Dunn and Kevin Webb, staff members of True Blue Inclusion, offered these comments drawn from personal experience.
Many have joked that former President Bill Clinton was the nation’s “First Black President” because of the numerous pro-racial equality measures he passed during his tenure…. in a May 2013 publication Newsweek upped the ante and went so far as to similarly praise President Barack Obama by referring to him as “The First Gay President”.
What makes both of these men and the titles that they have earned through endorsing Racial and LGBT equality measures special is the fact that neither of them can self-identify with the causes that they respectively champion—as in, former President Clinton is certainly not Black and President Obama is certainly not Gay. They are selfless activists who have helped to continue to promote a unique culture of social consciousness where privileged Americans are choosing to champion equality causes for marginalized communities.
Just as President Clinton encouraged all people to be more respectful and inclusive in the ‘90’s, President Obama is doing the same amongst Heterosexual and Homosexual Americans today; thus, closing the generational gap of selfless activism between the White Freedom Riders and the Straight Allies of Gay Day’s Marriage Equality wins of today.
Such is the magic of diversity and inclusion.
The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 of California are unconstitutional; thus, federally validating the marriages of millions of LGBT same-sex couples around the nation and granting those in the State of California the right to marry freely, once again. Already being christened as #GAYDAY by the millions of enthusiastic voices of LGBT support on social media, June 26th, 2013 marks a new chapter in our nation’s ever-leaning arch toward the justice of diversity and inclusion through both the efforts of self-advocacy and selfless activism.
Only 48 hours separates these landmark Supreme Court decisions from the 44th Anniversary of the Historic Stonewall Riots—the first public decry of discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in American History. Often compared to the bravery that the late Rosa Parks exhibited in her refusal to move to the back of the bus on the basis of the color of her skin in 1955, the 1969 uprisings that the LGBT community of the Greenwich neighborhood of New York City waged against the NYPD due to the constant physical violence and harassment that they endured during the raids that the Police performed on the Stonewall Inn, became a definitive turning point for the entire LGBT community of our nation. For, this act of self-advocacy encouraged thousands of people to come out of the closet and bask proudly in their own truths, coloring in an otherwise invisible community for the outside world to finally see, to finally hear and most importantly, to finally feel. Undoubtedly, this move marked the precipice of the modern gay civil rights movement and inherently welcomed the support of millions of selfless ally voices who stood hand-in-hand on the front lines for Marriage Equality earlier today.
A movement that now four decades later, would continue to pick up steam and welcome one of the more unsuspecting champions of gay rights in its colorful history—President Barack Obama. Elected in 2008, President Obama has since amassed a long string of gay rights victories under his belt including the DADT Repeal in December of 2010, his first-ever public endorsement of the LGBT community in the spring of 2012 and now these two Supreme Court victories. In fact, he is also the very first President in our nation’s history to even acknowledge the Stonewall Riots and the LGBT Community in his Inaugural speech in January of this year!
For, just as sure as it is our deepest belief that today would not have been made possible without the preeminent struggle that the LGBT heroes of the Stonewall Riots fought or the daily reports of harassment, violence or discrimination that the LGBT community of today still faces. It is when those who have the most to lose stand up for a cause that they believe in that real, substantive, awe-inspiring change occurs amongst others who are just as privileged as they are, to help those who are marginalized and do not have equal protections or rights to move forward.
It is that brand of change that facilitated a cultural sweet-spot today that encouraged a diverse coalition of selfless activists to band together with the Freedom Fighters of the LGBT Movement to sway the Supreme Court to include millions of LGBT Americans in the winner’s circle of Marriage Equality. It was this brand of change that gave us chills as I heard the Supreme Court boldly decry the unconstitutionality of DOMA because as Gay, African Americans, we know first-hand the bruises of injustice and the cold shoulder of apathy. It was this brand of change that saw us shed tears of joy when Proposition 8 was also deemed unconstitutional because we realized that we were all witnessing a history in the making moment that was bigger than any form of discrimination that those on the wrong side of history could ever throw in our paths again.
Happy Gay Day & Happy Pride,
Kevin Webb & DeAndra Dunn
True Blue Inclusion
DeAndra N. Dunn, Associate Director, Logistics DeAndra is one of the newest members of the True Blue Inclusion team. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a focus in production from Bennett College for Women in 2009, she continued on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning — Community Development & Urban Management from SUNY University at Buffalo, graduating this past May. DeAndra was introduced to True Blue Inclusion through the Human Rights Campaign HBCU Internship program. She has traveled to various places including Africa and Europe, which has allowed her to gain a broadened cultural experience. DeAndra is originally from Rochester, New York and proud member of the Rochester Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
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