So today someone I know from high school came out on Facebook, and from what I understand, this was the first situation where he’s really come out as gay at all. It was great to see someone make that kind of a difficult decision and express himself in a way that he felt was constructive for his life. And it was really encouraging to see all of the positive comments and support that he got on his Facebook page.
But he’s involved in local politics in my hometown, and he lamented the possibility that his political career would be ended by coming out. My hometown is a special, progressive place, so I hope that isn’t true. And I hope that my state is blue enough that it isn’t true state-wide in the near future. And I hope my country has the capacity for enlightenment and progress necessary to evolve quickly enough that gay people of his generation aren’t frozen out of national politics. There’s been a lot of setbacks, and a lot of forward progress, and a lot of work ahead. After California and Prop 8 I stopped predicting that the victory was going to come soon. I realized, and I realize now, that whatever advantages we have, they are not enough to rest on our laurels and rely merely on the arc of history.
Someday, though, the oppression and bullshit is going to end. Someday this country is going to fully and unapologetically extend basic American civil and human rights to gay men and women, and that means gay marriage, gay adoption rights and the right to serve in the military as openly gay. Someday this country is going to take the next crucial step in totally living up to its democratic and egalitarian ideals. And when that happens, the people, ideologies and parties that obstruct this progress will look back at that behavior and see that it is as embarrassing and shameful as the long history of support for racial segregation looks now. Now you can get on the bus, you can stand in the way of the bus, or you can get out and push, but the course of this country is bent towards eliminating the structural challenges to gay equality. If you need to prepare yourself for that, I suggest you do so. Because change is coming.