What is the next evolution of the LGBTQ community?
In the last century we’ve progressed from struggling to survive, to fighting for visibility, to working for equality. Now that living freely as an out LGBTQ individual is growing into both a legal and social norm, at least for those in progressive communities, our sense of identity as a community is changing. As we continue equality efforts, we get to look forward to the next stage of our progress: uniting to thrive.
The strange and wonderful thing about the LGBTQ community is that we are united by our differences. More often than not, we do not share the same sexual orientation as our parents or siblings. Our gender expression may not conform to restrictive stereotypes. The point is, by celebrating our own uniqueness we somehow find and celebrate each other. With this we have connection point that spans background, creed, language, etc in a way no other group in the world is as privileged to have. But now that these differences are less shocking to most of the mainstream, do we risk falling into apathy because the need to unite is less pressing?
The LGBTQ community is no longer only visible in the gay ghetto where rainbow flags fly. We’re pursuing our dreams and interests with less risk of oppression or exclusion based on our sexual orientation than ever before. It’s a fantastic beginning to an era where LGBTQ individuals visibly make a difference in areas that matter to them. We want our values to matter, and not just our values around marriage equality.
One value that seems almost universal is our desire to make a difference, to make the world a better place for each other and the next generation of LGBTQ kids. This value can be called sustainability, where my sense of self steers my actions, that impact the environment, which sets a tone for society that influences the identity of the next generation. When we unite to thrive, it isn’t just our own lives we’re enhancing; it’s also setting the stage for amazing progress to come.
By Gerod Rody
Published in the GSBA Perspectives Magazine in 2012