150 Reasons to Have Pride in 2010

BY Advocate Contributors

May 10 2010 4:00 AM ET

1 PIXEL GIF | ADVOCATE.COMBECAUSE SHE’S LEFT AND CENTERED
Rachel Maddow is the smartest person on TV. Period.

BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE
It’s difficult to describe the ­final step across the finish line. Whether it’s at the end of a 10-kilometer AIDS walk or a 26.2-mile AIDS marathon run, it’s a moment of incredible reward—and exceptional challenge. The finish line signals the end of months spent fund-raising—in memory of family, friends, and entire communities devastated by disease. And it’s the last of many miles of training—more than 250 for those who choose a marathon. Since 1985, when 4,500 people in Los Angeles finished the first AIDS Walk, the gay community has led the way. Since my own HIV diagnosis, I’ve crossed 27 finish lines—18 AIDS walks and nine marathons—and I’ve heard hundreds of stories along the way: the lesbian who ran for loved ones lost, the transgender activist who harnessed the fund-raising power of her family, and the gay man who walked with the hope that he and his generation may be among the last to live with HIV. As we enter our fourth decade of the epidemic, the finish lines look a little different. More families participate together. The private sector provides generous support. Youths, even entire schools, form successful fund-raising teams. And, thanks to the sacrifice of those earliest gay participants, more people now conquer their run or walk knowing only of someone who has lived with but not died from AIDS. —Craig Thompson, AIDS Project Los Angeles executive director

BECAUSE TODAY’S SOLDIERS AREN’T AS BIGOTED AS SOME OF THEIR PAST AND PRESENT LEADERS
New recruits aren’t born in a vacuum. They’re shaped by popular culture, evolving social mores, and legal precedents that have slowly abolished government-sanctioned discrimination. “Today, nearly everyone who goes into the military is familiar with and comfortable around gays and lesbians,” says Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United. “It’s more common for new ­recruits from the Southeast, for example, to have never been exposed to Mormons than to have never been exposed to open gays and lesbians. It’s just simply not an issue for them anymore personally.”

BECAUSE WE LIKE ASSERTIVE MEN
Thanks to his frequent and rousing statements for marriage equality, MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann is our silver fox of choice.









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