You know the It Gets Better campaign? Well, it does. It has. In the past years, attitudes towards LGBT people have made enormous improvements. We can see this in legislation. More states now include sexual orientation and gender identity in their hate crime laws. More states now allow same sex marriages. DADT is DOA.
We can see the change in how people act too. For nearly 20 years I've been teaching a university class that deals with homophobia--among other biases. I always ask the straight guys to imagine they're in a bar and a girl who's totally not their type hits on them. What's their reaction? No big deal, they say. They'd politely tell her no thanks. Then I ask them to imagine it's a guy who hits on them. It used to be that my students would react with laughter, with hoots of derision, with pained faces, with promises that they'd hit the guy. But reactions have changed. Nowadays the students shrug. "I'd be flattered," some of them say. "I'd let him buy me a free drink," others say. No big deal. They'd politely tell him no thanks.
This is progress.
But we still have so far to go. My gay friends still can't get married here in California or in most other states. In some states, people can be fired or denied housing because they're gay. People with same sex partners still have to think about whether it's safe to show affection in public. Just the other day, two young men were attacked outside Madison Square Garden because they were holding hands.Transgender people are still attacked merely for being, even in San Francisco.
I've had students show up in my classes with black eyes from getting bashed, with police reports from when their homes were vandalized. I've had students tell me their family no longer speaks to them. I've seen my friends and colleagues deal with hassles related to taxes, insurance, adoption, health care directives. I'm hoping that soon the day will arrive when I never see these things again.
I'm giving away two prizes: an e-copy of my new novel Buried Bones and a $10 donation in your name to the Human Rights Campaign or the LGBT organization of your choice. I'll randomly choose the two winners from the comments on this post. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with your email before noon PDT May 28 .