Recently the magazine the Advocate (which honestly, I had all but forgotten about) came out with their People Of The Year. It is a list of very well deserving, wide ranging group of folks. I have not read the entire list but feel that many very (and I would strongly argue MORE deserving) people were left out. I think it is great to recognize people within the gay community that do great things during the year. But I believe we need to do more, much more to recognize those that are NOT gay but willing to stand up for us! An old wise man once told me "one should not be rewarded or recognized for doing what ought be expected of them" So, with that in mind this would be my list of People of the Year.
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled this past summer that not allowing gay couples to marry was in violation of the Iowa Constitution. This of course caused many to demand a public vote or a State Constitutional Amendment. But the Leader of the Iowa Senate refused to have any part of it. (this is the same State Senator that voted for the same law that the Court struck down.
This summer two active NFL players came out in support of gay rights. It got very little attention. But I think it is people like this that the "gay rights -HRC" types should highlight. It is only when we get allies from the straight community that we will ever achieve the rights we so richly deserve. The fact that 2 NFL Football players were willing to stand up and speak out - to me is a big deal.
Baltimore Ravens three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo came out for full marriage equality, writing in the Huffington Post:
Looking at the former restrictions on human rights in our country starting with slavery, women not being able to vote, blacks being counted as two thirds of a human, segregation, no gays in the military (to list a few) all have gone by the wayside. But now here in 2009 same sex marriages are prohibited. I think we will look back in 10, 20, 30 years and be amazed that gays and lesbians did not have the same rights as every one else. How did this ever happen in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Are we really free?
Scott Fujita, defensive captain of the New Orleans Saints, supports Ayanbadejo's stance. "I hope he's right in his prediction, and I hope even more that it doesn't take that long. People could look at this issue without blinders on...the blinders imposed by their church, their parents, their friends or, in our case, their coaches and locker rooms. Fujita continued, "I wish they would realize that it's not a religion issue. It's not a government issue. It's not even a gay/straight issue or a question of your manhood. It's a human issue. And until more people see that, we're stuck arguing with people who don't have an argument." Fujita has also endorsed the October 11 National Equality March in Washington.
Given the protective moats of testosterone that surround the locker room, these are gutsy moves.
Leave it to the children to show us the way. This very smart and brave young man gets the issue of gay rights/equal rights like very few adults ever will. His parents also get credit for raising such a great young man.
The state of New York finally brought the issue of gay marriage to a debate in their state senate(if you want to call it that, Only ONE person spoke out on the floor of the senate against the bill) I found the the speeches by many of the speakers to be very moving. It was very disappointing that the bill did not pass. But after watching the following people (and others) speak about the bill I felt great hope that we are making progress, albeit slow and we will someday finally win this battle.
These are just SOME of the people that over the past year were willing to STAND UP AND SPEAK out on the issue of gay rights! Again, I feel the "gay community" does not do enough to thank or recognize those from the 'straight community" when they speak up in defense of the rights of all people -sometimes when it causes them a lot of backlash from those around them.
I have much more to say on this topic and will post Part 2 of this topic tomorrow.
And this guy should get a medal. His line "how do you think I voted at Omaha Beach" is my quote of the year. Frankly, I was moved to tears watching this man from the "generation" that opposes gay marriage speak out so well on this issue.