As some of you may know, I’ve been relatively involved in LGBTQA+ activism since high school, when my amazing brave awesome wonderful sister Claire came out. I’ve been president of my high school’s GSA, marched in DC Pride with Metro DC PFLAG, and have been on the executive board of Wheaton’s LGBTQA Alliance since my freshman year. I consider myself an ally, while not a perfect one, and am always trying to learn more about the issues facing people who identify as LGBTQA+ and be a better ally. My mom is super involved with issues like marriage equality, and has been in charge of our church’s equality group for the past few years. She also helped to start a group for LGBTQA+ teens in our hometown of Arlington, VA, and is active in the Metro DC PFLAG circles as well. My dad is involved in this activism as well, and my sister is always helping me challenge my preconceived notions and learn more about issues in the LGBTQA+ community. I think it’s safe to say I have an awesome family.
I wanted to write all of that, not for “props” or to get recognition for anything, but to explain how much it means to my family that marriage equality was just legalized in our home state of Virginia.
It’s pretty dang cool!
My mom is already posting pictures from the Arlington courthouse, where gay couples are starting to get married, and she is posting up a storm on Facebook and Twitter. She’s more active on social media than I am!
(note: while I was writing this, an article popped up in my feed from the Washington Post – my mom is in a few of their photos!!!)
It’s nice to know that my sister now has the same rights as me, in terms of the ability to get married in our state. It’s just one small step towards equality; one boundary that we’ve crossed over.
There are countless other issues and rights that LGBTQA+ people are fighting for, and marriage equality is just one of them. For example, there are no laws in Virginia that prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Someone could be fired by their employer, just because of their (real or perceived) sexual orientation. I don’t think this shouldn’t be legal in 2014!
There are so many people working every day to help make changes around these issues, and they definitely don’t get enough credit! I’d imagine that working on issues like these in states like Virginia is pretty exhausting work, as it can take a while for real change to be seen in our laws and in the daily lives of LGBTQA+ individuals and families. There are lots of organizations that need our support, and if you’re feeling generous, take a moment to donate to their causes!
- Equality Virginia
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- Metro DC PFLAG
- ACLU of Virginia
Thanks for reading! Margaret