In 2005, many people swallowed hard, raised eyebrows, and giggled gayly at the portrayal of male-male love on the big screen. The setting was Wyoming and Texas in 1963, where two young cowboys began a life-long love affair that withstood trials and taboo typifying the time's lack of tolerance for gays, along with the beauty, endurance, and commitment between them.
Fast forward 55 years. I'm fortunate to engage with so many LGBTQ+ members through work and social media who share personal stories of Coming Out. Sadly, an overwhelming majority of these contain remarkably similar themes of fear, rejection, and broken-hearted kinds of sadness. Like most great love tales, subplots of unwavering passion to love on one's own terms coupled with pressure to comply to social expectations complicate the relationships further. An unrelenting need to be authentic despite risks of ridicule and even death is still prioritized in contemporary gay life. The rage against gay love still exists.
Over 55 years ago, we could have imagined that by 2020 that perilous mountain of oppression would resemble more of a molehill. The ugly intolerance is still tossed recklessly around like a playground dodge ball targeting brothers and sisters who are in harm's way only because they want equality. We are all worthy of the love and belonging. I call out everyone who is standing for social justice in the midst of the current cultural BLM/BIPOC platforms to also advocate for LGBTQ+ people. Without unity, the molehill looks more like an unobtainable, back-breaking, heart-wrenching mountain of social inclusion.