John M. Becker

#MakingYourMark on LGBT History, Vol. 2 [Sponsored]

Filed By John M. Becker | October 22, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Contests
Tags: #MakingYourMark, AT&T, giveaway, iPad, iPad Mini, LGBT History Month, promoted, sponsored

lgbt-history-month-2014.jpgIn case you haven't already noticed from all the posts on this site, October is LGBT History Month -- a time set aside to learn and honor the history and culture of the LGBT community.

So many of us think of history as something that's already happened -- years ago, in some other place, to some other people -- and as something that's now found in books, online archives, and the memories of our elders. But while that's certainly true, history is also very much alive, and happening here and now -- and in our lives and families, we're creating it.

To honor the personal stories of LGBT people and the way each one advances our community's push for equality and justice, AT&T has launched the Making Your Mark Campaign, inviting social media users to virtually "check in" to our unique LGBT milestone locations under the hashtag #MakingYourMark. Locations can include where we first held a partner's hand, first encountered the LGBT community, or first met the person we love.

They're also providing an incentive to encourage Bilerico readers to participate: a chance to win an AT&T gift basket with an iPad Mini! Details are after the break.

In order to be entered into the random drawing for the iPad Mini, you'll need to check in with your #MakingYourMark location on Twitter between now and Friday, October 31.

How do you do that? It's easy: just reply to this tweet with your #MakingYourMark location, use the hashtags #MakingYourMark and #SweepsEntry, and tag @att. (Limit one entry per person; click here for details and full contest rules.)

Most of us have many #MakingYourMark locations. Two weeks ago, I shared one of mine: the auditorium at Green Bay East High School where I came out as gay for the first time. But just in case you need a little extra help thinking of your own #MakingYourMark location, I'll share another quick story.

My second #MakingYourMark location is City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It's where my husband and I were married in March, 2006.

john-michael-wedding-collage-freedomtomarry.pngIn a way, it's an obvious choice -- the place where Michael and I began our marriage journey together. But I didn't just select it because it's the spot where I pledged my life to the love of my life, I chose this spot because what happened there profoundly altered the trajectory of my life.

See, the reason Michael and I had to travel to Toronto, more than 700 miles and 11 hours by car from our home in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to say "I do" is because at the time of our wedding, there was literally no place in the United States for couples like us to go. The only place that allowed same-sex couples the freedom to marry was Massachusetts -- but that was only if you lived there. We didn't, and couldn't afford to move, so we had to leave the country in order to get married.

When we returned home to Wisconsin, Michael and I immediately threw ourselves into the battle to beat back a malicious, hateful marriage discrimination amendment that opponents of LGBT equality were trying to add to the state constitution. Their efforts succeeded, but the experience galvanized us both and transformed us into advocates for the civil rights of the LGBT community. (And the ban was ultimately overturned in federal court this year.)

Marriage equality has always been at the heart of our work, but it's also broadened to include other equally important issues that we're equally passionate about, including youth and senior issues, LGBT community-building, ending religion-based bigotry and the "ex-gay" myth, transgender equality, and the plight of our persecuted LGBT siblings across the globe. Our advocacy journey has taken us from the state capitol in Madison to the Bachmann clinic in Minnesota to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court... but it all started at City Hall, in Toronto, Ontario.

So that's my #MakingYourMark location -- what's yours? Share it on Twitter using the instructions above and you could win an iPad Mini!

Thanks to Freedom to Marry for the collage of images from our wedding.

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