By Jim Koury, Editor, Diversity Rules Magazine
June is a great month. I have always loved the month of June. It is the time when spring is in full bloom, and summer is close upon us. Of course, it is my birthday month too, so that in and of itself is a good reason to love the month of June! But all that aside, June has become a very special time for me, as well as for many other queer folk around the globe. It is pride month, during which time we celebrate our individuality and the differences in people.
As I reflect upon my life with the advent of my 52nd birthday, I have to believe that I was born in the month of June for a reason. I like to think that my birth month coincided with queer pride month, because it is very clear to me now that I was destined to be queer, and to be an activist working toward the American ideal of “liberty and justice for all.” Nothing gets my energy levels up as much as when I am focusing on the battle for equality for this nation’s queer population. The queer rights movement and my efforts within that movement, fire up my center, my core, the very essence of who I am.
I started Diversity Rules Magazine with this passion for equality. I wanted to provide a venue through which I could express myself and allow others to do so as well, without the trappings of some editor in an office deciding who was to say what, making decisions about cutting well thought out material from one’s work, and just placing a regulator on individuals expressing their true feelings. I wanted to provide an outlet through which queer individuals, such as myself, could fulfill their life’s mission, as long as what they were saying was uplifting and working toward the ultimate goal of equality for all.
Diversity Rules is part of my reality and always will be. It is what drives me and gets me up in the morning. I look forward to each and every day, and doing my part to educate and enlighten people about what it really means to be queer and to call out the lies and mistruths our detractors so often espouse in order to further their cause of inequality and injustice.
With the arrival of another pride month, I have made a recommitment to my queer compatriots to continue to fight for equality, to continue Diversity Rules no matter what, and never give up fighting the battle until this country’s queer population is treated fairly and equitably. I will use my last dying breath to ensure that all the rights and privileges bestowed upon the straight community are granted to all queer citizens of this country. No longer can we tolerate injustice, bigotry and the disenfranchisement of certain individuals in this country simply because of who they are and were born to be.
This year has brought some major victories and of course, setbacks. However, the victories do outweigh the setbacks. Recent court decisions have struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as being unconstitutional. Additionally a federal appeals court has upheld the Prop 8 decision that stated it was unconstitutional. Both of these issues will land a the doorstep of the Supreme Court. I am confident, that despite the right wing tilt of the current court, it will have no choice but to strike down DOMA and thus legalize same sex marriage throughout America.
The sense of pride and euphoria to have elected this nation’s first black president, to cross a barrier that long withstood the test of time, but to only crumble because we saw a better future; one more in tune with the spirit of America … “liberty and justice for all.” I hope to see another barrier crumble to move even further toward that goal when queer equality is finally achieved with the striking down of DOMA. It shall be a momentous time.
Additionally 2 more states, Washington and Maryland, have legalized same sex marriage legislatively. Unfortunately, both of these states are referendum states, and our detractors have garnered enough signatures to place same sex marriage legislation on the ballot for a vote. Once again, a minority’s rights are being voted on predominantly by those who are against same sex marriage, and primarily on religious grounds.
It is reprehensible to me that the rights of a minority are being put up to a vote, over and over again. I firmly believe that if the civil rights act and subsequent court decisions were put up to a public vote, the prejudiced majority would have denied equality for this nation’s African American citizens, interracial marriage would still be illegal, and segregation would be the law of the land. The court will rule and I am confident that it will rule on the side of equality and uphold the true spirit of the constitution to grant rights, not to deny or take them away.
The queer community needs to take a much more aggressive stance, now in the latter part of the battle for equality. It is the final push that will bring us over the finish line. Queers United should be the battle cry while rushing into the streets, plazas and public spaces all across America. We must have a militancy and urgency for equality, as our black compatriots and others had during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
We shall overcome the hate and injustice that has infected this country like a poison, relentlessly ravaging healthy tissue until it kills the whole. We must not allow it to kill the whole. Negate the poison by working toward justice and equality.
Equality will be ours. We must stake it into the ground so very deeply that it will never be taken away.
Happy Pride Month and go kick some ass!