This afternoon, driving home, I was listening to NPR. John Lewis, a U.S. Congressman from Georgia and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, was interviewed. Mr. Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington in 1963, the rally where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most famous speech.
During the course of the interview, Mr. Lewis was asked if he ever thought he would see an African-American man be nominated for President of the United States. Mr. Lewis replied no, he didn't think he ever would. He related that during the 60's, when he was a young man, black people were just fighting for everyday things, like trying to obtain a library card or buy a hamburger.
This interview really touched me. I was a teenager during the Civil Rights Movement. I remember that I wondered if the African-American community would ever be granted the rights that white people take for granted. I was (and still am to some point) very idealistic and I thought in my heart-of-hearts that this would indeed happen in my lifetime.
As I was driving and musing about this interview, I also wondered if I would ever see equal rights for the GLBT community in my lifetime. Sometimes when I think about it, I get so excited that I can almost taste it. I picture a day when same-sex couples will be free to marry, adopt, and raise their children without jumping through hoops. I dream that we will pass a Hate Crimes Bill so I don't have to worry about my son's safety. I even dream that one day, maybe not so far in the future, society will look at GLBT people not as something different, but just as another pattern in the tapestry of life.
As I watched the Democratic Convention these past few nights, I listened very carefully for mention of GLBT rights in the speeches. So far, I have only heard two references made to gay rights. Both times, I clapped my hands and jumped up from my seat. But I believe there was not enough mentioned of this in those speeches. It saddens me that our nation's leaders are side-stepping this community. But I still hope for the day when we can look back, like John Lewis is, and see equal rights for our families and friends.