I was going to write a patriotic and historical blog about the 4th of July. After all it was entirely appropriate. I had intended to talk about my recent trip to Fort McHenry where I watched an airshow that included the Blue Angels and the raising of the Star Spangled Banner – all in honor of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
But upon reflection, the idea of a more traditional 4th came to mind, conjuring up thoughts of barbecues, picnics, parades, and fireworks, all in celebration of our freedom as Americans.
However, it was then I came face-to-face with the realization that in fact not all Americans are free. In fact, the vast majority of LGBT Americans residing in most of the states and towns across this country continue to be denied the right to be who they are or marry the person they love – some of the most fundamental of human rights. And although eight states and DC have passed marriage equality laws (though Maryland and Washington face referendums in November), the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor do the other states with no such protections.
So I had the idea of celebrating this 4th of July by saying thank you to your state LGBT equality organization. Thank them for the tireless (and thankless) work they do on our behalf every day to secure our most basic freedoms. Most of these organizations operate on shoestring budgets with less than 3-4 staff to cover the entire state. They receive nasty comments from right-wing fanatics and are more often than not criticized by their own communities for failing to achieve the impossible, usually with little help from these communities.
So today, when you celebrate Independence Day and how our founding fathers and mothers fought for our freedom, send your state LGBT organization an email thanking them for fighting for our freedom. It takes so little of your time and makes such a big difference to them. Better yet, how about making a donation – $4 in honor of the 4th, or $17.76 in honor of the 236th celebration – to help support the work they do? I know they’d appreciate the thanks or the donation.
If you don’t know who your state LGBT organization is, visit www.equalityfederation.org and click on the map of the state you live in.
Let’s never forget those who fought and died for our freedoms in the past, as well as those who continue to fight for us today. I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th.