On Monday, my partner and I will join two SAGE constituents - Madelin Alk and Renee Rosenfield - at a White House Pride celebration at which President Obama will speak. The event has generated controversy, with some LGBT commentators suggesting that it should be boycotted because the Obama Administration has not done enough for the LGBT community in its first six months. But the presence of Madelin and Renee - who are 86 and 91 respectively and have been together for more than 20 years - says a lot about why we at SAGE feel it's so important to be there on Monday and to continually engage with the Obama Administration (and anybody else who has power and might be convinced to do the right thing with it).
We all have the right to be outraged that our relationships aren't respected equally, that we are not allowed to openly serve our country in the military, and that seniors in our community are denied the Social Security and Medicaid benefits that often make the difference between making it or not in old age. But one of the many wonders of working at SAGE and being surrounded by our community's older generation is getting the benefit of the wisdom that comes with age - that Rome wasn't built in a day, that making change is more often a slog than a revolution, and that progress comes from both relentless pushing and a dose of patience. Those messages make sense to SAGE folks even when we're dealing with the most reluctant public and private policymakers - yes, we talk to them all the time too. They make even more sense to us when we're talking about a President that has repeatedly declared a firm commitment to LGBT equality and has been buffeted by crises of monumental proportions during his first six months in office.