Tonight I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the Out & Equal conference closing dinner,thanks to Jay’s connection Brigadier General Tammy Smith, the highest ranking openly lesbian or gay person in the US military.
It was a beautiful eveing, and fun. Comic Kate Clinton was hilarious. Martha Wash performed “Everybody Dance Now (Gonna Make You Sweat).” OMG! And am I the first gay man ever to duck out of a performance of “It’s Raining Men” to text the babysitter hoping for an extension? Hallelujah, she was singing it, and we got until 10:30. Yay!
Just like parenting, there’s nothing like being in a room of many thousand gay men and lesbians to feel that the future belongs to the young. They’re sweetly but insistently going to take our place on this planet, just like our kids will. No hard feelings, it’s the way the world works.
That’s an odd feeling. But I also found myself with a this strange feeling, surrounded by tables sponsored by PepsiCo, Wells Fargo, Deloitt, McDonald’s, IBM and The Disney Company. Corporate America turned out to support gay rights. In the fortune 500 this feels like it’s nearly a done deal. It seems ungrateful to even ask, but when will we know we’ve succeeded? What would it be like to have this fight, our fight, become irrelevant?
This is definitely a question that comes from a place of great privilege, and in a country where you can lose your job for being gay, and a world where you can be stoned or jailed, it’s not a question we can ask yet. But what if gay rights are essentially won in another half or quarter generation, the Supreme Court OKs gay marriage, the culture shifts, it’s decided? What if we win quickly, and that fight is done?
Racism seems destined to hang around. The cycle of poverty and inequality. But what if we get to the point where there’s longer a need for “gay activism?”
No need to worry about this question yet, certainly. But from my perspective, living in a wonderful, much appreciated bubble, it seems perhaps, maybe, almost within reach within our lifetimes. Wouldn’t that be something? What would we do if we were granted our greatest wish?