Not being a person who's into large crowds, I didn't trek down to the Capitol on Monday for the Inauguration. If I'm going to watch President Obama give a speech, I'd rather watch it on the screen in my living room than a giant screen on the Mall, not to mention that even when the weather is described as ''great for January,'' it still means it's cold.
Yet the moment that Obama linked three American struggles for equality -- ''the most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal - is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall'' -- left me wishing that I'd been standing on the grounds with a bunch of my fellow LGBT people to savor the surprising and historic moment.
Brandon celebrates his first Inauguration (Photo courtesy of Diana Le)
Instead, I sat in my living room with my jaw a bit dropped at what had been said and how much further the president went in becoming the first president to say the word ''gay'' in an inaugural speech. But more important to me than saying the word was that linkage of civil rights movements.
It was humbling to hear it, because as a white gay man I know my own personal struggles have been very different than those faced by women and African-Americans. But while each movement differs in the particulars of its cause, at heart they share the same fundamental American values of liberty and equality.
Being more tolerant of crowds and cold than I, my cousins Brad and Diana took their 9-year-old son, Brandon, to see the inauguration speech and parade. She texted me a picture of Brandon standing near the White House holding an American flag: the son of a Vietnamese-American mother and a Midwestern Ohioan father, celebrating the second inauguration of the son of a Kansan mother and a Kenyan father.