Human Rights Campaign National Dinner Theme: It’s All About Our Straight Allies

hrc_lauper_solmonese.jpgHRC National Dinner. The event was absolutely wonderful. The 3,000 attendees looked smashing in theirs tuxes and gowns (and that includes all genders!) and the program was phenomenal.
Throughout the years at these dinners, I have become accustomed to feeling like I never have quite enough time to socialize and too much time to sit through a long (though often rousing) program. This year was different, however. The program was wonderful and the timing was just right — from the opening video segment, which featured Rosie O’Donnell making fun of how horribly long the program was last year to Cyndi Lauper’s a cappella award recipient “speech” in which she sang “True Colors” to the riveting moments when the handsome and dapper, Julian Bond (head of the NAACP), accepted his leadership award.
To view photos and hear speeches, click here.
The undergirding theme through the dinner was how important it is that we, the GLBT community, remain (or, for some, become) vocal about who we are as people and consequently ask our friends and family (whether implicitly or explicitly) to become our allies and to help us end discrimination. Invariably, as those whom we love and those with whom we work and play come to understand that GLBT Americans are no different from any other Americans, our opportunity for equal rights becomes just that much stronger.
It strikes me that when members of the GLBT community get legally married or have a union ceremony or wedding which involves witnesses, we are doing just that. We are asking our loved ones — and especially those who are our straight allies — to bear witness to the love we have for each other and we are asking them to understand who we are as people in a committed relationship, rather than who we are as a stereotype.
I believe that it is virtually impossible not to be transformed when witnessing a heartfelt union between two people who love each other and are making a commitment to each other — not because they have to or because society expects them to, but because they choose to do so, even in the face of rhetoric which says that to be gay is to be “immoral” or is to challenge the “sanctity” of marriage.
We live in a time that needs more love. And, as my dear friend, Renee, who married me and my partner, said, “Love opens up. Love sends out.”
And, I would add, love conquers all.

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