Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Hope will never be silent.
Sexual minorities are some of the most vulnerable citizens of the world. Those that are courageous enough to come out of the closet in North America are ostracized and scapegoated within government, at the workplace, in families and faith communities, while our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters throughout the developing world are violently harassed, jailed and given the death penalty.
Now is the time that all people of faith and conscience recognize and promote the real gay agenda in the United States. No, not the “agenda” alleged by Rick, Huck and Rush, but the real redemptive work that is flourishing in the real lives of gays and lesbians (and their straight allies) everywhere. Let us not delay in highlighting some recent developments.
First, there’s the true life gospel story out here in Southern California of the gay hosts of an internet radio talk show whose billboard has been hatefully vandalized twice. Instead of replacing the billboard a second time, Robbie Laughlin and Craig Olson decided to commission an artist to use peace and love to cover the multitude of sins brought on by hate. Here’s the final product:
We would also like to honor Jeanne Manford, the longtime elementary school teacher who walked alongside her gay son at a Gay Pride Parade in NYC in 1972. She was instrumental in starting up Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) with just a few other stalwart parents of sexual minorities. Manford’s love for her son Morty—who died of AIDS in 1992— overwhelmed any sort of cultural more or stigma that might possibly dare to keep someone neutral. Because of her commitment to a New World, PFLAG now has more than 350 chapters throughout the US with more than 200,000 members. Here she is in 1972, with the poster she made herself:
Lastly, we applaud Barack Obama’s selection of Ricardo Blanco, the 1st generation Cuban and openly gay poet, to read at the inauguration on January 20. Here's an excerpt from America, the first poem he ever got published:
By seven I had grown suspicious--we were still here..............
Overheard conversations about returning
had grown wistful and less frequent.
I spoke English; my parent's didn't.
We didn't live in a two story house
with a maid or a wood panel station wagon
nor vacation camping in Colorado.
None of the girls had hair of gold;
none of my brothers or cousins
were named Greg, Peter, or Marsha;
we were not the Brady Bunch.
None of the black and white characters
on Donna Reed or on Dick Van Dyke Show
were named Guadalupe, Lázaro, or Mercedes.
Patty Duke's family wasn't like us either--
they didn't have pork on Thanksgiving,
they ate turkey with cranberry sauce;
they didn't have yuca, they had yams
like the dittos of Pilgrims I colored in class.
We desperately need more creative expressions of nurturance, compassion and humility in our culture. This, of course, is the real gay agenda: from the ranks of the marginalized comes a vigrous source of redemption. Let's participate in movements that confront the demonization gays and lesbians and pledge solidarity to their beautiful journey towards peace and justice. Pass it on. Straight folks need to have their own coming out party: ruthlessly advocating for the dignity and worth of sexual minorities everywhere. Let this gay agenda spread everywhere. It's contagious. Real love is an epidemic.