Julie, and I were part of the overflow crowd watching the
oral arguments of the California supreme court's same-sex
marriage case at the San Francisco Main Library
auditorium back in March. It was broadcast on
California's government public access channel, and
let me tell you, it was like being at a sports bar for
the Super Bowl -- people were cheering and hissing for
two solid hours.
The superstar of
the day, the man whose forceful eloquence and grace
under pressure gave us all such a feeling of confidence that
the court would indeed see the light on this issue,
was National Center for Lesbian Rights
lead attorney Shannon Minter.
Along with Chief
Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart and the many others
who prepared the case and spoke to the justices that day,
Shannon Minter helped earn all of us same-sex couples
the right to marriage equality here in the state of
California. (Like all good technorati queers, I blogged about it.)
On the afternoon
the landmark May 15 ruling was announced, Julie and I
brought our two daughters to the San Francisco LGBT
Community Center to celebrate the victory with our
community. Ask anyone who was there and they'll
tell you the thrill that went across the room as center
executive director Rebecca Rolfe spoke the simple
words "Welcome to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
and Transgender Community Center" with the mindful,
measured tone that allowed us all to feel the reality of a
genuinely united LGBT movement. I'm talking
especially about the "T" here.
As we stood there
smiling and laughing and sharing happy, triumphant LGBT
embraces with one another, I felt unable to fully express
the depth of my gratitude -- to Shannon in
wasn't until a week later that a lesbian friend in
the Castro pointed out to me (Me: Mr. Thoughtful
Lesbian and Trans Ally) the crazy irony that a trans
man had clinched the marriage equality victory for gay
men and lesbians -- despite the fact that our
community has not been exactly 100% unqualified in support
of his rights. Of course, I'm referring to
last year's battle over the
federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
When the time comes to fight for that bill in Congress
again, I hope we can all come together and secure the
version that also includes gender identity.
Think about it.
How can it be that if Shannon chose to take his
prodigious legal talents to any mainstream law firm in most
parts of this country, despite his incredible
abilities, he could be fired at any time simply for
being trans -- and have no protection or legal recourse?
All this time
that Shannon has been fighting for us, what have we been
doing for him? Yes, let's beat the upcoming antigay
marriage ballot measures in November, but let's
also truly stand up for equality for all. Now is also
the time to be an ally to the transgender movement.
(To learn about the transgender referendum on this
November's ballot in Maryland's Montgomery County, go
visit the Basic
Rights Montgomery website).
gender-variant butch dyke, I feel such affinity with my FTM
brothers that it almost sounds like too much of an Us
and Them distinction to make, but in this moment I
hereby re-proclaim my commitment: Shannon is getting
me my rights; I'm damn well getting him
So skip the
toasters and glassware for us, and make a generous donation
to the NCLR's transgender lawdivision. And go find out about
the more than 360 civil rights organizations who have banded
together to fight for a United
ENDA. And, of course, don't forget to help
keep our marriage rights in California by giving to Equality for All.