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Today is the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and on while it might seem like that is a pretty easy thing to understand, it actually means a lot more than its title suggests, because today, is one of the most important days on the gay calendar.
Today is a day of action, it is a day of reflection, it is a time when we as a community need to think not about where we are, but where we’re going. In order to do that we have to remember where we have been. We have to remember that while in today’s society, Pride celebrations around the world are highly anticipated, those celebrations were earned through hard work and a desire to make the next day more accepting than the day before.
We have come a long way but there are challenges that still plague us. There are 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay, there are people that still bully, there are policy makers that still discriminate. These are not lost causes, it just takes a bit of work and that is what today is about.
Right now, there are hundreds of actions happening all around the world, we encourage you to visit the IDAHO Facebook page and get involved. Please though, don’t limit your involvement to just today. All around the world gay organizations look for people like you who want to see a more equal tomorrow and are willing to help make it.
Ending homophobia isn’t a dream, it’s reality within reach, but in order to grab it, we must all grab it together.
It has been truly inspiring over the last few days to watch as Brazil has reached a milestone of Marriage equality for its citizens.
It is very important to note how the government took action on this issue. There are countries around the world that win marriage equality victories on a state-by-state basis. Brazil was utilizing a similar strategy, but ran into roadblocks in the form of politicians standing up for bigotry. So, the government made a stand to show all of their people the great work that a Government can do for its people when it stands not only the right side of history, but on the side of what is right.
Brazil, has given the world action to learn from. They have shown the world that it is possible to do something despite it being a politically divisive. They have shown the world that a government needs to act for their citizens rather than a segment of people desperately trying to prevent human rights. They have done the job they are elected to do. They have shown leadership, strength, and in the process, shown the world that Brazil is a leader of worldwide equality.
Let us hope that this moment is one that inspires leaders of the world to always act for what is right, just, and equal.
The cliché has always been, “America is a melting pot.” This is a reference to America’s variety of culture, race, and ethnicity. This has been especially true since congress voted on the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The act allowed for a higher number of people outside the United States to make their way to a new life. As time has gone on the immigration issue has become a bigger and bigger issue. It has taken on a life of its own as one of the modern era’s most important questions; it has also become one of the most divisive.
As many people know straight couples can marry their foreign-born partner and that partner is granted American citizenship. That has been the law and has helped shape interracial families that help make our country more diverse and ever stronger. The question is though, “what are gay couples to do?” We don’t have the benefit of marrying the one we love, let alone the ability to make sure that borders don’t tear us apart.
We’ve seen couples torn apart by national politics. Living in the age of social media we have read their stories, watched their struggle, and felt a sense of powerlessness as a congress of people that have never met these couples, decide their fate. As the United States Congress begins to consider revisions to our country’s immigration policies, please stand up for what is right and just. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request because it isn’t. These couples don’t need to end, the injustice does. You can right the injustice and allow happy couples the ability to write their own story.
Take a moment today and add your name to the growing list of Americans who believe the same thing you do: that love does not know nationality, nor border, nor politics, nor sexuality. Love is what it is and no border or law should be allowed to break it up.
You can send a letter to your Senator here; it will take you less than a minute to input your information and the letter will be sent on your behalf.
Yuval and Liran have been pursuing their dreams of fatherhood for years. They have made all the right moves, and filled out all the proper paperwork. Despite all of their efforts they ended up being sent down dead ends that ravaged their finances that cost them thousands and has almost cost them their dream.
When such stories like Yuval and Liran’s arise it really gives us time to pause and reflect on how truly bigger the struggle for equality is. We see that equality touches on so many facets of life and in this case, the desire to begin a family. Yuval and Liran’s story being shared is just one of many GLBT couples trying to create a family of their own. Yuval and Liran’s desire and dedication for the cause of family is a prime example of why equality matters.
While their journey found itself at a near end it, it isn’t over. Yuval and Liran have decided to persevere and continue to pursue their dream but need help. Grindr for Equality learned of their story and decided to take action. Grindr’s Israeli-born CEO, Joel Simkhai, said this on the issue:
“I read about Yuval and Liran’s emotional personal story and was impressed by their creativity in pursuing their dream of fatherhood, and their persistence, recruiting international celebrities such as Joan Rivers, to help raise awareness that in so many parts of the world the joy of parenthood and other aspects of family gays are not equals in the eye of the law. We at Grindr believe in giving back to the gay community that’s been so loyal to us and made us the #1 dating app for gays. With our ability to reach millions of users, Grindr is in a unique position to provide real and meaningful assistance within the community and advance the cause of our community worldwide.”
In lieu of this Grindr has pledged to donate any Grindr Xtra revenue from new Israeli subscribers for the next week, to Yuval and Liran. If you don’t live in Israel but want to help out please check out Yuval and Liran’s fundraising page here.
As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, Grindr caught up with Benjamin Cole Beaury (aka the “Grindr sign guy”) at the rally last week in Washington D.C.
Grindr: How did you hear about the Rally?
BCB: Through Facebook groups I follow and friends. I volunteered with Equality Maryland to help pass Question 6 in November, and I regularly volunteer with the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community so a lot of those contacts keep me in the know.
Grindr: What made you decide to go?
BCB: Civil rights are earned, not granted. My parents raised me to be involved and take action when it comes to social justice; that’s my tradition.
Grindr: What made you decide to make your sign?
BCB: I had lots of ideas, but they all seemed so divisive or aggressive against those who disagree. I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I wanted to focus on a message for us - the LGBT community - that we’d get and appreciate. Grindr’s geo-targeting feature and recognizable layout seemed like a good way to express the importance of the Supreme Court’s decisions and what these trials will mean for us.
Grindr: What was the reception amongst the crowd to your sign?
BCB: Everyone loved it! Most people got it as a Grindr reference, but I think many thought it was just a pretty rainbow sign. It looks a bit Dada, I suppose. I had a lot of people stop and take my photo, so I thought I’d end up on a lot of people’s Facebook walls. Then my newsfeed started blowing up with my friends spotting me on the news and various blogs.
Grindr: What was the atmosphere like in during the rally?
BCB: My friend, Tom, and I got there at 7am, and there was already a crowd gathering. There were more supporters then opposition. It was really fun! Our side had music, dancing, and a spirited drag queen. I actually reminded an anti-equality guy near me that if he came all this way to hold his banner, he should smile and at least look like he’s having a good time. He just walked away. When their anti-equality cadre paraded towards us it felt tense. We all countered their “one man + one woman” signs by chanting “2,4,6,8: Kids do best with Love not Hate.” I felt bad for all the children in the anti-equality crowd. It’s unnatural to normalize a child to discrimination at any age.
Grindr: What more, if anything, do you think the GLBTQQIA community could do to help the cause of equality?
BCB: Visibility for one! Edie Windsor said it best after she came out of court on Wednesday, "as we increasingly came out, people saw that we didn't have horns. People learned that we were their kids, and their cousins and their friends."
When you are open in your workplaces, schools, and communities, you make it safer for another to come out too. We need to love ourselves and take care to treat the whole spectrum of GLBTQQIA with absolute kindness and respect. We weaken our cause when we marginalize our own. Also, love your body, know your status, and use protection in sex! And finally, we need your feet on the ground. Make good of that visibility: Volunteer. Donate time. Give back to your community and represent us positively. Washington D.C. is a pretty safe place to be gay, so I think what I did was easy. I really respect those who hold the torch in less-than-friendly parts of our nation. Those people are my heroes.
Grindr: Why is equality important to you?
BCB: I want the American Dream like anyone else. I see myself with a loving partner and as a parent one day. It’s also for the next generation. When a kid can grow up knowing that simple things like same-sex marriage is accepted everywhere, she or he will know they too are accepted everywhere. Our nation has too many homeless queer and trans youth who miss out on their dreams because they weren’t safe where they grew up. It won’t get better until we establish basic equality at a state and federal level.