It was five years ago this month that Michael Aaron Green took a chance on an unknown straight guy and gave me the opportunity to write a regular column for QSalt Lake. During that time, a great number of changes have taken place in me, in this community, and in our society.
I’ve written things that have angered some, pleased some, and hopefully made some think just a bit. I’ve made some great friends along the way and I am proud to have twice been voted as “Best Columnist” in the annual Fabby Awards. The people I’ve met have inspired me to do more and to be more, and for that they will always hold special places in my heart.
I’m proud to be associated with such an amazing community, a group of people who have chosen to not only live their lives authentically, but to also do so in such a way that inspires others to do the same. These are the people who are responsible for the changes we’ve seen in our community, our state and our nation.
These are the people who make the stories. People who have carried the equality flag for years, for decades, going back to Utah’s first Pride recognition, Gay Freedom Day, which was held in June 40 years ago.
This community has grown and taken tremendous strides over those four decades. Five years ago I couldn’t image marriage equality being legal in my lifetime, but now we sit on the cusp of that moment, fueled by the dreams and commitments of a passionate community.
But the struggle is far from over. It’s still a big deal when a celebrity comes out. We still tell stories of “the first LGBT” person to reach a certain milestone. These stories, for now, are important. They must be told. They help other people overcome their fears and to take that first big step into authenticity. They show terrified youth (and adults) that they are not alone.
What I look forward to now is a day when those stories only matter in historical context instead of news. I look forward to the day when children ask us why equality was ever an issue. I look forward to my children and grandchildren inheriting a world where gender identity and sexual orientation are not the labels by which people are judged.
I have a tremendous amount of love and respect for this community. The last five years have made me proud to stand as an ally, and have changed me in ways I can’t begin to describe. I look forward to reporting and commenting on the changes and growth the next five years have in store for us.
Thank you all.