Saturday, July 19, 2014

Somethings to be proud of

Posted By on Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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Sometimes I attend the Pride parade and sometimes I don’t (depending on the heat and whether or not I can fork out 10 bucks for a burger and a Coke). But this year, I’m definitely there — I’m really feeling the need to get off my dead ass and connect with the people in my community. The past year has seen so many changes happen to the Rainbow Tribe around the globe, and they need to be celebrated (or mourned, as the case may be).

Let’s get the bad news from Uganda out of the way first.

What a goddamned nightmare. Just as so many doors have been kicked open and it seemed the human race was finally waking up, Uganda decides to pass a law, the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, making homosexuality punishable by life in prison. True, it’s hardly news that homosexuality is against the law in most of Africa, but the harshness of the punishment is what makes the law so draconian.

Perhaps the worst part of this story is that the law wasn’t designed on a whim. If you dig a little deeper you’ll see the ground for that decision was being tilled years before it came into existence, and the people working the soil coming from the good ol' U.S. of A.

But while Uganda appears to have taken a giant step backward, things are looking up for transgendered persons in South Asia, more specifically India.

In April, the Supreme Court of India ruled that hijras, the name for transgendered people in India, be classified as a third gender on all official documents, and that opportunities that had otherwise been off-limits to them, such as placement in government jobs, elementary schools and colleges, must be made available.

Despite this change in Indian law, many hijras remain less than thrilled. Rather than be classified as a third gender, they’d like to be identified with the gender they have chosen, be it male or female. And considering that homosexual acts are still illegal in India, trans people see this ruling as a token gesture. But, the court insists it is committed to ending the social stigma attached to hijras in India.

Now let’s focus on our own backyard.

Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling that Utah’s gay marriage ban is indeed unconstitutional. Of course, the state is appealing the decision, but in other states that have tried to ban gay marriage, such appeals have failed. The next stop for Utah’s fight against marriage equality will then head to the Supreme Court.

SCOTUS has made it quite clear that it would rather leave the issue of gay marriage to the states, but public opinion has always played a part in their decisions, and a Gallup poll conducted last May found that 55% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples.

Two baby-steps forward, one giant step back. That just seems to be the pace — it feels like it could take forever for the human race to mature at this speed, especially when you’re living in such a conservative, God-fearing town like the Springs.

But the times, places and people are changing. There are more places on the globe where it’s legal for same-sex couples to marry than at any other time in human history, with more being added every year, and, If that isn’t enough, many employers are adding transgender-related healthcare to their insurance plans. That’s friggin’ amazing!

True and lasting change is a generational thing — when I consider my niece’s generation, and her baby’s generation, I see a lot of hope.

Since I chose to come out, my nieces and nephews have grown up to see that being gay is quite natural and not really a big deal. They don’t understand why I’m denied some of the most fundamental, basic rights that they enjoy, and they just don’t get what all the fuss is about. And did I mention they’re voters? Things will change rapidly once their generation comes into power in a few short years — you can bet on it.

I’m usually not what you would call “a glass-half-full” kind of guy, but I truly believe that in the not-too-distant-future, sexual orientation and gender issues will be a thing of the past. We’ll be flat-out amazed there was even a time when we needed to fight. We’ll just shake our heads and say, “For real?”

We’re not there yet, but still, the LGBTQ has done a lot to be proud of. So throw on that sari, lace up those Doc Martens and get your ass out there and march!

Christopher Curcio has lived in Colorado Springs for over 35 years and is employed by Colorado College at Tutt Library. In his spare time you will find him sleeping, napping, dozing while reading, napping while dozing, and nodding off while watching America’s Test Kitchen.

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