Editors' Note: Guest blogger David Comfort is founder of the Equality Network, a nonprofit, grassroots organization that is committed to building a movement for non-violent action to achieve social and political justice and equality for gay, lesbian, transgendered, and bisexual people. David is a scientist, activist and writer.
A whole unrecorded history has been spoken in the streets of Chelsea, in the streets of the Castro, in the Streets of West Hollywood. A history of tears. A history of simple joys. And a history of struggles.
We have not only forgotten our own history-gay history, lesbian history, transgender history, bisexual history-the history of our community and of our movement. We suffer not only from a historical amnesia, but from a historical lobotomy. Our history has been taken from us. Taken with the loss of tens of thousands of our brothers and our sisters due to AIDS, Taken from us due to our own government's neglect and negligence. Taken from us due to homophobia, due to silence, and due to shame.
So we stand between hope and history. We stand between our dreams and our desires. We stand with our memories and with our histories. We stand with our triumphs and with our losses.
I ask you now to stand with me. I ask you to stand with me in the streets. Stand with me in the court houses. Stand with me in the voting booths. I ask you to stand with me in the darkness and in the light. I ask you to stand with me in our triumphs and in our defeats.
I ask you to stand with me in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno. I ask you to stand with me in Denver, Laramie, and Birmingham, Alabama. Stand with me in every city and in every town, and on every street and in every home. I ask you to stand with me all across this great nation. Stand with me until we, as a people, attain our rights, attain our rights to marry, attain our rights to serve openly. Attain the same rights as every other citizen in this country. I ask you to stand with me until we achieve our freedom, achieve our freedom to live our lives in joy and regret, achieve our freedom to live our lives openly and honestly.
As Martin Luther King said, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."
We will not forget. We must not forget. We must not forget Matthew. We must not forget Harvey. We must not forget Bobby. We must not forget the thousands upon thousands gone. Gone from our homes, gone from our hearts, gone but certainly not forgotten.
We cannot be silent. We will not be silent. We must always remember to speak up. To never silence our voices again. To never forget where we came from, and where we must go.
We will speak the love that is in our hearts. We will speak the love that knows no bounds. We will speak with the love that is in our compassion and in our kindness. We will never be silent again. We will speak up for our rights-our rights as full citizens, our rights as human beings.
In the coming weeks, there will be a legal ruling that determines our right to marry the person whom we love. Whatever way the ruling goes, we cannot forget what we have done and what we intend to do. We will not let others define us. We will not let others dictate which rights we can and cannot have. We will tell our story, for it is our story to tell and our lives to live on this good, green earth.
So we too must become the heroes of our own lives, the heroes of all of our lives, and to remember and embrace the memory of those who are no longer with us, and honor their memories, their struggles, their histories. So I ask to join me on May 9th for the "Teach in For Equality." To remember and embrace these histories, so that we can go into that bright, bold future, into "another country," where our dreams and our hopes and our desires become present, become realized. And all of us can join hands and sing "We are equal at last, at last, at last..."
The Teach In for Equality is sponsored by the Equality Network, a grassroots organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) equality and justice, which was established after the passage of Prop 8. The conference will begin with coffee/tea and registration from 9:30 AM on Saturday, May 9th and end at 5 PM. All conference sessions will be held in Fiesta Hall and the adjacent Community Center in Plummer Park in West Hollywood. (View Map)
Speakers include Cleve Jones, Sheila Kuehl, Torie Osborn, Marc Solomon, Jenny Pizer, and many other prominent LGBTQ scholars and organizers, with sessions for LGBTQ history, direct action organizing, religion and LGBTQ community, and Gays and Lesbians in the Military.
For more information, please visit our website. There is limited seating, so please register as soon as possible to guarantee yourself a place at this amazing event.