Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall
Commentary by David Stocum, Executive Director, New Mexico GLBTQ Centers
Today as millions of us routinely went about our lives, quietly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the beginning of the second term of the first African–American President, the earth moved.
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall...”
With those words uttered by President Barack Obama during his Inaugural Address the history of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender human rights movement was irreversibly changed. We can no longer be denied. A President has put us on the map of civil rights history in a most dramatic and compelling way. As a gay man, it brought chills and tears, it brought validation I didn't even know I needed.
The power of today on our youth will not be known for years, but powerful it was and will be for a long time to come.
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
While pundits prattle on about what the speech means as the agenda for the second term, Republicans bemoan “being slighted”, I and many of my LGBTQ family will be celebrating an arrival. An arrival to a closer chair at the table of power, and a step closer to full inclusion in the American dream. At the same time, we know we have much work to do, and that we are up to the task.
When the sun rose this morning we couldn't have expected the historic shift which would occur before it set. We are grateful that tomorrow's dawn will be the first of our new day.
David Stocum, Executive Director, New Mexico GLBTQ Centers graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 1982. His experience includes training and development, human resources and project management. David was a life coach serving gay men. Before founding New Mexico GLBTQ Centers, he served on the board of The South Bay Center in Torrance, CA. David is Vice Chair of the Dona Ana County Community Unity Coalition. He currently lives in Las Cruces, NM with partner Richard, a dog, and a foster son.
New Mexico GLBTQ Centers mission is to reduce homophobia and enrich the lives of individuals living in New Mexico who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer through education, advocacy, support, example and collaboration.
For more information on New Mexico GLBTQ Centers; visit www.newmexicoglbtqcenters.org or stop by the centers at 1210 N. Main Street in Las Cruces or 216 W. Maloney Avenue in Gallup.