While I wrack my brain over how to write my next big post (okay, it might not be that big), I want to make note of something that almost escaped my mind: Today is Spirit Day, which has been held the third Thursday of October every year since 2010. It’s a day set aside for LGBTQ awareness and support, and was initially created in the wake of bullying and suicide incidents among gay youth. Spirit Day is meant to honor the LGBT youth who, sadly, felt taking their own lives was the only option to end their hurt, and also to tell the LGBT youth of today who are bullied that there are those who are very supportive (the color purple is prominently used to deliver that message).
Let’s start off this post with a quick comic book analogy, and before you think I’m a sci-fi/comic book geek, I’m not; it’s just that I read a quick blurb about this character a long while ago and felt they were apropos for this post: In the DC Comics Universe, there is a character by the name of Luornu Durgo, a strange visitor from another planet (whoops, wrong character) where the natives had the ability to split themselves into three identical bodies at will. Luornu Durgo used that that ability to overwhelm and fight evil forces, earning her the nickname “Triplicate Girl.”
Now, I imagine that Luornu Durgo could have used that multiplication ability to do other things… like, say, straighten up her house before guests came over to visit. Or… I dunno, appear in three totally separate places at once. Last week Friday, I had not one, not two, but three separate commitments occupying my entire day from pre-dawn to well past sunset. Thankfully, I didn’t have to be there all at the same time, but just the same, I felt like I had that multiplying superpower. Just call me [*insert powerful superhero music here*] Triplicate Person!
Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity — and more importantly, the courage — to do what I had long hoped to do: March as Allison in a LGBT pride parade.
Sunday was the day of the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally (the above logo is from the event website). As you may recall my telling you in this post about last year’s parade, the event has been put on since 2014 by OutReach, which is the LGBT community resource and support center here in Madison. As it has since 2015, the parade and rally was held downtown, with the parade going up State Street and circling Capitol Square before ending at a rally point where State Street meets the square. The OutReach Pride Parade & Rally has grown each year since its establishment. In fact, this year organizers had to cut off the number of registered parade entrants at 77, needing to do so since there was just no room for more.
“There’ll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say ‘screw all those people!'”
– Matt Drayton to his future son-in-law in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
As important as it was to remember the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy on Monday, another important anniversary that also occurred on Monday should not be forgotten: June 12 was also “Loving Day.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it has to do with probably one of the most important decisions ever made by the United States Supreme Court — the case of Loving v. Virginia, which was cited as precedence for a much more publicized case 48 years later. Continue reading
I had started work on another post about a different subject this morning, but the significance of this particular day (June 12) has ordered me to take a different direction tonight. Today is, of course, the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 lovely lives were cut short in horrific fashion.
I made passing mention in my last blog post about this, but it’s time to finally give it the spotlight here: Last Thursday morning (June 1), three members of the Wisconsin State Legislature introduced to assembled media and the public a new piece of legislation currently seeking co-sponsorship from fellow legislators. The proposal, as with any piece of legislation (federal, state, or otherwise), has a grand name: The Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. And a press release announcing the proposal succinctly sums up the bill’s importance:
“A bill that would add protections to Wisconsin statutes against discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or gender expression.”
If you saw some of my retweets on Twitter a couple of days ago, you learned that there was a significant bill introduced in Wisconsin’s state legislature that, if it becomes law, would prohibit discrimination based on one’s gender identity or expression. I’m trying to formulate a post devoted solely to that piece of legislation (which you can learn about here). But in the meantime, I want to highlight a couple of interesting LGBT-related items.
The first was another piece of big Wisconsin news this week involving Ash Whitaker, a student at Kenosha’s Tremper High School who received disrespect from the administration of both the school and the school district just because he is transgender. Originally, Ash made news for wanting to run for prom king, but was rebuffed by Tremper High officials who dictated that he run for prom queen or be dropped from consideration for prom court altogether. The school relented, allowing anyone who qualified for prom court to run for prom king or prom queen, whichever one matched the gender they identified as.
My previous post, which you can read here, had me talking about a place of higher learning not too far from my old neck of the (literal) woods establishing a LGBT resource and support center. After I added it to this blog, I couldn’t help but think about it further…
First off, I can’t say enough how great it is for the University of Wisconsin—Marinette to establish a LGBT center. I’m happy, of course, that it’s happening in the area where I spent the later years of my adolescence. More than that, though, I’m happy for those in Marinette and vicinity who identify as part of the LGBT spectrum or are LGBT allies, for they finally — finally! — have somewhere where they can find resources; obtain information on healthcare, transitioning, support, etc.; or just find a safe, welcoming place where they will not be judged for who they identify as or who they may be attracted to.
Please don’t let the title of this post make you think I’ve become blasé about the opening of a center dedicated to those who identify as part of the LGBT community. That’s not the case, for any office or center, large or small, that’s dedicated to providing support, resources, or just a conversation place to our community is a vitally important thing to have, wherever it may be. Now more than ever, it seems that these centers and the resources they can provide are important, even as our community has made great strides towards rights and acceptance.