We are all in this togetherBottom Highlights Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Commentary: Guest Commentary
As someone who has enjoyed and participated in San Diego Pride for over 27 years, I am incredibly honored to be this year’s grand marshal. And I’m delighted to be in the company of the community marshals, – The LGBT Community Center, Dignity San Diego, The Imperial Court de San Diego and the Metropolitan Community Church – who have all done such legendary work.
Pride is always a good time to remember and celebrate the road we’ve traveled together. And it’s also a good time to take a look at the road ahead.
This summer marks the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, one of the watershed moments in LGBT civil rights.
In 45 years we have definitely made advances – and the recent decisions on marriage equality in Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Utah are only the latest.
But we still have far to go. And when I say we, I mean we. We can’t quit fighting until the day everyone in our community has an equal place in our society. And a safe place in our society. No one gets left out. No one gets left behind.
A 20-year-old who was at Stonewall would be 65 today – a 65-year-old who may have to face the prospect of moving back into the closet in order to be accepted in an assisted living facility. We have to keep fighting for them.
There will be 20-year-olds we see along the parade route in San Diego who will have no home to go to when the parade is over. We have to keep fighting for them.
Women’s rights, reproductive health and access to birth control are facing a renewed serious attack. We have to keep fighting to protect our right to control our own bodies.
Transgender people are disproportionately targets of violence and discrimination throughout this nation. We have to keep fighting for them.
I’m proud that July 1 my legislation went into effect which will streamline the process for transgender people in California who wish to change their gender or name on their birth certificates. This will help folks obtain a birth certificate that reflects who they really are.
Another of my bills, AB 1577, would require death certificates to reflect the decedent’s gender identity. In what I see as a very positive sign, this bill passed out of the Assembly with bipartisan support, including that of my Republican colleagues from San Diego County, Assemblymembers Rocky Chavez and Brian Maienschein.
And then, we must be a part of the fight taking place in the rest of the world. Places like Russia, where even talking about LGBT rights can be a crime or Uganda, where being gay can mean life in prison. While we were celebrating the Fourth of July here in the United States, there were news reports of 60 Kenyans being arrested in a raid in a gay club in Nairobi.
Even as we work to achieve our remaining goals in our own nation, we must look beyond our own borders to support the LGBT activists in places where their fight for equality puts their very lives in danger.
I also hope the LGBT community can work together to help find solutions to some of the key challenges that we face as Californians.
We just included $165 million in the state budget for affordable housing, but the need is so great. We need to find ways to create more affordable housing in this state and to keep our neighbors and community members from slipping into homelessness.
In addition to more money for schools, we also included more funding for higher education in the budget. But we must keep working to ensure California’s college campuses are open to all and are safe spaces, free from sexual violence and harassment.
These are steps that will improve the lives of all families, including same-sex households, which are increasing in number every day. As happens with all who seek basic human rights, the LGBT community now finds that, more and more, we are all in this together and that a rising tide truly does lift all boats.
There is much work still to do, and many fights to fight. But, thankfully, there is also time for joy and celebration and being with people who matter to you. And that’s part of what makes San Diego Pride such an amazing experience.
See you at the parade!
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