“Patience is a virtue” so goes the old adage! We have heard this many times from our parents, teachers and religious leaders. Most times I do subscribe to this virtuous trait but there are times when doing so is very trying. My patience does wear thin at times. I must remind myself to breathe and keep things in context.
Movements of social change can be exciting to experience, especially when one is on the front lines of that movement working toward the betterment of society and trying to fulfill this country’s inherent promise of equality for all. In order to ensure that change is steady and progressing forward, there is a degree of patience that must be exhibited by those working toward change.
If a movement is defined more by violent upheaval through the use of force, then the resulting change can be replaced just as quickly since the concepts fostering that change were not provided adequate time to evolve. Lasting change will succeed if the precepts of that change are expressed in a rational and meaningful way and people can see it is for the betterment of society as a whole.
Any great movement in history, such as the Civil Rights movement and the fall of Communism in Europe, inherently involve some degree of violence and forceful takeover of institutions that represent the most reprehensible aspects of the human condition. These social movements were ones that progressed incrementally and ultimately resulted in equality for this nation’s African American citizens and the imprisoned people of strict communist rule in Europe.
The movement for LGBTQ equality is no different. While I am not advocating the overthrow of our government or anything remotely similar, I do subscribe to the need for moments of conflict and confrontation, if necessary, such as the Stonewall Rebellion, which gave birth to the gay rights movement, as we know it. It is instances like Stonewall, while trying and tense, which put the powers that be on notice that there is a rumbling of anxiety and need for the status quo to change.
Today’s LGBTQ equal rights movement is thankfully not being waged through violent confrontation. Instead it is being waged in state legislatures, Congress and the courts. While this route may be tedious and seem like progress forward is abysmally slow, it is this patient, incremental manner by which enduring change will be achieved and remove LGBTQ citizens from second-class status.