In honor of Pride Month, Leaders Write about LGBT Issues in 2012 America

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With Pride weekend only a few days away, the latest issue of Momentum Magazine, authored by the national leaders of the LGBT movement and focused on the issues most pertinent to the LGBT community, is now live.

With Pride weekend only a few days away, the latest issue of Momentum Magazine, authored by the national leaders of the LGBT movement and focused on the issues most pertinent to the LGBT community, is now live. Authors include Tim Sweeney of the Gill Foundation, Ineke Mushovic of MAP, Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Eliza Byard of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), Michael Adams of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders), Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and Brad Sears of the Williams Institute at UCLA.

Tim Sweeney, a long-time activist for the LGBT community and current president and CEO of the Gill Foundation, reflects on the origins of the LGBT movement and the actions that have propelled the community to where it stands today. “Over my three decades of work in the LGBT movement, we have never experienced a time of greater presence in society, momentum for change, or stronger ties with allies…this momentum may seem sudden, but it has taken decades of sustained investments in a range of work…to build the organizations needed to provoke and sustain real change for LGBT people.”

Eliza Byard, Executive Director of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) writes on the importance of anti-discrimination efforts in K-12 schools. “When it comes to the failure to respond to bullying and harassment, the harms are even more concrete, physically and psychically. Bias-based bullying, when left unaddressed, gives teeth to the hidden curriculum of our collective prejudices,” Byard writes. “Every student affected by the bullying dynamic – whether the perpetrator, the target, or a bystander – learns powerful lessons about who merits protection and respect, and how power is exercised in the community.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, writes about his organization’s work to repeal DOMA and their new campaign, Mayors for the Freedom to Marry. “Victory will come only if we seize the moment. For 2012, that means continuing to win more states, winning at the ballot, and winning more hearts and minds…It’s up to us now, to keep the pace and overcome the barriers, as we bring the country home,” Wolfson writes.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, writes about Obama’s historic announcement. “Almost every week there is some story, some bit of news, some courageous act of uncommon kindness where I feel that sense of history being made, of a shift from how things used to be,” Kendell writes. “Every movement knows this narrative, this story, this arc of history. How lucky we are to witness this moment, this new chapter, harkening a brighter future for the LGBT community.”

Michael Adams, executive director of Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Tarnsgender Elders (SAGE) looks at the LGBT aging experience. “LGBT older people are more likely than their heterosexual peers to be poor (even more so if they are women, people of color, and/or transgender), suffer from a disproportionate array and degree of health problems, and are denied otherwise available Social Security and Medicaid benefits because of the federal government’s refusal to respect their relationships,” Adams writes.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, writes about the importance of working at the intersections of LGBT and other issue-based work. “We insist that immigration and housing and healthcare and fair wages and social security and ending systemic racism and sexism are all LGBT issues because we live in every demographic and geographic segment of the U.S.,” Carey writes. “Marriage equality is critical to realizing our full dignity. And, we are not a marriage-only movement. The Task Force has tried to lead by example in how the LGBT movement can “show up” on the range of issues affecting the lives of LGBT people.”

Brad Sears, executive director of the Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Policy and The William Institute, UCLA School of Law, addressed poverty in the LGBT community. “Some LGBT people are poor. In fact, after controlling for a number of factors associated with poverty, rates for LGB adults are higher than for heterosexual adults. This fact should not be surprising,” writes Sears. “After all, LGBT people are born into all types of families, including those who are poor. LGBT people face the same socio-economic challenges that other people who share their sex, race, ethnicity, age, and disability face. But they also face unique obstacles because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Ineke Mushovic, co-founder and executive director of the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), writes about the importance of conversations in advancing positive change for the LGBT community. “When we talk about LGBT equality at MAP, we typically start those conversations with a kind of mission statement: “This is about everyday Americans who want the same chance as everyone else to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.” Why? Because effective discussions about social, legal and economic issues frame what those issues are about in authentic ways that resonate with people’s values,” writes Mushovic.

Momentum Magazine is a monthly digital publication published by Tides. In keeping with Tides’ mandate to evolve product and service innovation across the sector, and based on our seminal Momentum Leadership Conference series, Momentum is a quarterly publication that spotlights the world’s leading and emerging social change-makers. Covering issues ranging from the environment, to education, health, and social and racial equity, Momentum seeks to educate, inspire, and motivate activists and organizations to action.

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Kate Byrne
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