Okay, just a quick post regarding a quote I discovered a few months back (September, to be precise) in an issue of Our Lives Magazine. For the uninitiated, Our Lives is a LGBT-oriented magazine produced and distributed here in Madison (their cover header describes themselves best: “Madison’s LGBT & XYZ Magazine”), and they regularly feature contributions from the LGBT+ community. They also make an effort to incorporate pull quotes from LGBT+ figures in each issue. For example, they had a quote in a 2014 issue that was so awesome I just had to tweet it out when I spotted it:
In their September/October 2015 issue, Our Lives included a quote attributed to Tammy Baldwin. For those of you not in Wisconsin or not into politics, Ms. Baldwin is our state’s junior Senator, and before that a 7-term Representative for Madison and surrounding areas in the U.S. House of Representatives, and even before that a 3-term member of Wisconsin’s State Assembly. Upon joining each of those bodies, Ms. Baldwin became their first openly lesbian member; as well, she is the first woman to be elected U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.
In that September/October issue (page 11, to be exact), Our Lives included an article and past photo spread promoting an upcoming event held by Madison’s Gay/Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE). Above that photo spread, which featured a few people in superhero costumes, was this quote from Senator Baldwin, which I’ve posted below verbatim:
“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.”
I thought that was a pretty awesome quote, and I think it was paired perfectly and appropriately with the article and the photos. Kids in school can have a rough time expressing themselves sometimes, especially if they get teased about it (I know the feeling), so they need all the support they can get (which is where GSAFE would come in, naturally).
That quote is a meaningful one for us grownups as well. There are still those who want to keep the LGBT community down despite all the gains we have made (especially what we’ve gained in 2015). But what we can do… nay, still need to do is just like Senator Baldwin said: Express ourselves publicly, and do the right things publicly. It doesn’t matter whether we’re young or old, gay or straight (or bi), transgender or (like me) a simple cross-dresser. Just be honest with ourselves, then display our honest selves to the rest of the world, in our own individual ways, and as Senator Baldwin says, it will become “the way things are.”
Let’s express our true selves, every day.