Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

 By the time you read this, I will be passed out on the sofa in a turkey  induced coma inexplicably in front of a TV with a football game playing on it.

Such is the Great American tradition for Thanksgiving.  Additionally, I suspect many of you will have had uncomfortable conversations with family members you only see once or twice a year as well as catching up with who lost their hair, who is pregnant and who has died in your biological family.   Again, its all part of tradition for many folks.

Oh yes, and then there is that whole "thanks-giving" thing.  That's the real reason for the holiday, not the celebration of gluttony and football.  So just what is there to be thankful for this year?

Well, I have a few things I am personally thankful for that I would like to share, so in the spirit of the holiday, indulge me.
First I am thankful for my family of choice.  My loving partner of 16 years and our mutual friends enrich my life more than they will ever know.  They endure hours of my ranting and raving, and they still find it in their hearts to love me anyway.  They only occasionally roll their eyes and almost always laugh when I have climbed too high on my soapbox.

I am thankful for my biological family, both those still alive and the ones who have long since passed out of my life.  They taught me some very important lessons and they gave me the most valuable gift I possess, the gift of acceptance.  They love me just as I am with all my flaws.  That gift never gets old, but only if you pass it on to the rest of your family, friends and even strangers.
I am thankful for the strides made in LGBT rights in the past year.  The repeal of DADT, more equal visitation rights for LGBT families in hospitals and the beginnings of the repeal of the misnamed Defense of Marriage Act.

I am thankful for the contributions of so many citizens to the "It Gets Better" campaign.  Those simple heart-felt videos make an amazing difference to LGBT youth at a critical time in their emotional development.  I am thankful to the attention paid to the problem of bullying, something that affected so many of us in school and beyond.

Lastly, at least in this column, I am thankful for the new spirit of activism that seems to have blossomed in this country.  The Occupy Wall Street movement, though slightly disorganized shows that young people in our country still value what matters.  I had almost lost hope of that in this age of greed-is-good philosophies.

The OCW movement has only started to bubble up through the American consciousness and it has a long way to go.  The media is looking for simple ways to describe it and find only a muddle of principals that don't make good sound-bites, therefore they go with the lowest common denominator, visuals.  Pictures of bearded neo-flower children in tent cities and the occasional trouble maker become the face, not the earnest frustration with the way money flows from poor to rich in America.

It reminds me of the fledgling gay rights movement around the time of Stonewall and the Compton's Cafeteria riot.  The LGBT  community was angry.  Angry at the years of oppression and discrimination and they wanted to do something about it, they just didn't really know what.  The riots were just the outward sign of that frustration and the first real stirrings of a broad movement for LGBT rights. (At that time, simply called "gay rights".)

The frustration and emotions of the OCW movement understandably boil over as well, and my hope this Thanksgiving is that they will coalesce into an easily grasped declaration of the problem and a proposed plan of action to solve it.
Thanksgiving comes during a season of change, a time when the days grow shorter and the weather colder.  We gather together and feast as a defense against the fading of the light but we do so knowing that Winter is only a season, and it will eventually change into a glorious spring.   So for all I have to be thankful for, and for all the troubles we might face, I still believe in the promise of Spring.  The promise of things getting better.  Getting better for our LGBT youth. Getting better for the 99%. Getting better for everyone.  But like Thanksgiving dinner, it doesn't happen without someone getting in the kitchen with a recipe and cooking up a storm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...



For simply being a friend when a friend is all I ever needed.

richard h.
fort worth, texas, usa