On Friday, May 3 at noon, in the middle of Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, I gathered with a couple hundred of my friends for “One Minute for One Million” an event signifying the solidarity we share with the one million LGBT living in Michigan. We formed a human heart, the core of love. It was quite a gathering – of diversity, friendship, love, and equality. It was also a demonstration. In Holland, Michigan, you can be fired for being who you are, if who you are happens to be LGBT. In June, 2011 the Holland City Council, by a vote of 5 to 4, rejected adding “sexual orientation” to its non-discrimination ordinance for the City of Holland. And Until Love Is Equal was born. Ever since then, we have been spreading awareness about the unfairness and the inequality being shown to the LGBT community throughout our state. We do it in many ways: attending City Council meetings to voice our concerns, staging events (like the one today), holding rallies, and spreading our message through social media. And it’s working. People are becoming more aware, and they are opening their hearts and minds.
The quest for LGBT equality nationally is gaining momentum, too. It can be seen in Rhode Island, becoming the 10th state to enact marriage equality. The DOMA and Prop 8 cases being considered by the Supreme Court are encouraging for all who want equality to be the law of the land. The detractors, naturally, are fighting hard, too. The freakish Religious Right organizations like Focus on the Family and The Family Research Council continue to spread fear and bigotry with their hateful diatribes against the “deviant homosexual lifestyle” and “the filthy, sinful life we choose” with Satan as our partner. However, most of the sane and rational among us are able to see through their lies, and their own fear of a forward-moving country.
And so we will continue. We will carry on the message of equality, love, and acceptance for all. It is my hope that someday soon, these demonstrations will be a thing of the past – that we can hold celebrations instead, and live with each other in one society. A place where lesbian,gay, bisexual, transgendered, straight, man, woman, can all be known as just “people”.