“#morethanmarriage is important to me because while marriage and all of the privileges and protections it affords a couple are important, the freedom to marry is only a partial solution to the myriad of issues that face our community every day. Those issues, which include, but are not limited to, the freedom to work, access to health care, freedom to identify our genders as we see fit, school safety for LGBT youth, are paramount to achieving a world where we are all seen and treated with dignity and as a part of the human fabric.
On California’s School Success and Opportunity Act…
“Well done California for passing a law that protects transgender students from discrimination in their own schools and affirms their identities,” said Wilson Cruz, GLAAD’s National Spokesperson. “This is another step to ensuring that transgender students have the same opportunities at learning and school involvement as all other students.”
Wilson’s GLAAD Awards Speech…
I am so happy and proud to be here tonight in San Francisco where so much of the modern LGBT movement was founded and continues to be fought. This city by the bay has been a beacon and a place of solace for LGBT people throughout, not just the United States, but around the world, and yesterday she shined her light on all of us as our community let out a collective cheer when the Supreme Court of the United States finally said what so many of us have been fighting to hear our entire lives – that our loving, committed relationships and our families are just as worthy of respect, dignity, and justice as anyone else’s. In one of the court’s most heart wrenching statements in it’s decision, the court said that DOMA “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.” And by letting a lower court’s decision stand on Prop 8, children and families in the great State of California will now enjoy the same rights and privileges that every other family enjoys.
It’s been a long road, and we’re not done yet. GLAAD and I congratulate our sister organizations that brought this fight to the federal court, but I am also here to remind everyone within ear shot and beyond, that GLAAD has been at the forefront of this battle – fighting in the court of public opinion for almost 30 years and in waging that battle and taking it on, we created the space for such a decision to be made. We take great PRIDE in that.
In 1977, here in San Francisco, Harvey Milk spoke into a tape recorder and said these words that were to be played in the event of his assassination ” I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.” That is what we believe at GLAAD. We’ve been taking a bet for almost 3 decades that when people know us, know me, know you and your story they will side with us. They will take up the cause. And that these stories are what paves the way for real culture change.
GLAAD bets on you every day by harnessing the undeniable power of the media to tell as many people as possible the truth about our lives and simultaneously shooting down the lies told about us by the other side. We train those doctors, architects, lawyers, teachers, students, immigrants, actors, athletes, musicians to tell their stories. I know I was one of them! Then we place those stories and amplify their strength by expanding their reach to every person who has a television, newspaper, or smart phone.
We saw it happen right here outside of San Francisco when 18 year-old Ryan Andresen courageously told his Boy Scout troop leader that he is gay. Ryan was forced out of Scouting, but as a result of the work of groups like GLAAD and Change.org pushing Ryan’s story into the national dialogue, the nation was activated. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, millions of Americans and so many others spoke out in support of Ryan and ALL gay teens– and we saw a change happen in the Boy Scouts last month when they ended their ban on gay teens. We will not quit that battle until all gay young people and adults can have equal opportunities to join cultural groups like the Boy Scouts.
This week, GLAAD worked with Wired magazine on an article about media and pop culture’s roles in the rise in support for gay people and couples. They wrote: “Does that mean reruns of Modern Family on Hulu persuaded the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA and effectively end Prop 8? Probably not. But the court can do what it did knowing that the public will understand its ruling in a way they may not have 20 years ago because same-sex marriage is now in their living rooms, movie theaters, and Twitter feeds.” GLAAD did that with your support.
So, WHAT NOW? Now that these decisions on marriage have come down, where do we go from here? Well, marriage was always a piece, a huge piece of the bigger goal. Our goal has always been to create a country, well, a world where ALL people are recognized as integral members of the human fabric, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
If that is the goal, I think we can all agree just based on the rash of hate crimes in the last few months, we have a very long way to go. When we have the 4th highest total of homicides in our community ever recorded, 25, in the last year, and 53% of those are Trans women and 73% are people of color. We have work to do.
If you can still be fired from your job for being gay in 29 states and 34 states if your Trans. We have work to do.
If we haven’t yet passed an immigration reform bill that helps millions of undocumented immigrants get on the path of citizenship and reunite with their families, almost 300,000 of them being LGBT, We have work to do.
When 9 out of 10 LGBT students still report being bullied and harassed at their own school. We have work to do.
When the TV landscape STILL doesn’t reflect the diversity of our community. We have work to do.
And YES, as thrilled as we are by yesterday’s ruling, when you STILL CAN NOT be married in 37 states in the union. WE HAVE WORK TO DO!
Our WORK at GLAAD isn’t done until TRUE culture change really happens. And we’ll know when that happens when being LGBT isn’t about being other, but instead just about being what we really are – brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, neighbors and friends….
That’s the dream we dream at GLAAD, so let’s get to work!