A Giant Leap Forward

gay-american-flag-749601_300_172Guys, we’ve all just made history. This election was a resounding, record-setting victory for equality in this country. All our hard work is finally starting to pay off on a massive scale. The gay rights movement has just taken a giant leap forward.

For the first time, I personally feel that as a gay man, I was recognized and represented for being who I am. My interests are considered important. I’m no longer a marginalized player in the U.S. political process. I’m just as legitimate a citizen as my straight friends and neighbors.

First of all, the American people reelected Barack Obama, the first president to openly declare his support for marriage equality, the first president to oversee the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the first president who believes we are actually equal – who sees us, acknowledges us, and vocally supports us.

Secondly, marriage equality was on the ballot in four states. And for the first time ever, the voters in all four of those states – Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington – declared that same-sex marriage should be legal. The citizens of those states showed the world that they really care about our rights.

Finally, a whopping four members of the LGBT community were voted into office. Californians chose as one of their U.S. representatives Mark Takano, the first openly gay congressman who’s also a person of color. New York voters went for Sean Patrick Maloney as a U.S. representative – and as their state’s first openly gay member of Congress. Wisconsin voters decided on Mark Pocan, who became the first openly gay representative to succeed another openly gay representative in the same district. And last but not least, Wisconsin voters statewide elected Tammy Baldwin as their senator. She’s the first openly gay person ever elected to the U.S. Senate.

It’s a time to celebrate, to be sure, but we must remember that the fight is not over. We need to hold our elected officials to account and ensure they legislate with our rights in mind. We must see to it that the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed and that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is passed. We still have work to do.

I’m personally so proud of all the hard work that Grindr for Equality has done in the past few months to raise awareness and get out the vote in this historic election. I realize we sent you guys a lot of messages. But I think it was worth it, and I hope it helped inform and motivate you.

Let us not forget this moment and how it feels to be one huge step closer to acceptance and equality in this society. Voters just struck a major blow to hate and homophobia in America. A day when our sexual orientation will no longer be an issue is truly within sight.

Thank you for making a difference, Grindr guys.

Joel Simkhai

Image via TalkAboutEquality.Wordpress.com.