She/He Said: Living rooms, setbacks, and handcuffs

compiled by Howard Israel

"I think it does a lot of good. I think any time we're getting into people's living rooms showing them complicated, interesting, relevant portrayals of gay people, we're doing something right. It matters. Seeing Kurt stand up for himself, it really is a beautiful thing."

- Peter Paige, actor, "Emmet" on "Queer as Folk," commenting on the character of "Kurt" on "Glee," tackling issues including dealing with being bullied by a closeted football player, http://greginhollywood.com, Nov. 19.

"I know now that bullying is not a race issue or a religious issues and it's not a gay issue or a straight issue. It's a safety issue. Too many of our children are being tormented in schools - and not enough of our adults are doing the right thing and teaching respect for all. Enough is enough! Teachers, parents, clergy, and community members must stand together and make change. We all know the problems and we know the solution that can make a difference all that remains is to act."

- Sirdeaner Walker, mother of 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover, who hanged himself after anti-gay bullying at school, urging Massachusetts legislators to pass two bills that would require schools to address bullying and harassment targeting LGBT students, http://www.masslive.com, Nov. 18.

As we feel the exhilaration of watching our country make progress, and then feel the despair of watching it lurch back, it's worth remembering that not a single civil-rights milestone in our country has been achieved without a struggle - and many setbacks. Today, the forces of regression know that the gay civil rights movement is on the cusp of victory and that once victory is achieved, the next day we will find it hard to imagine that it was ever in question."

- Arianna Huffington, in her editorial titled "The Split-Screen Struggle Over Gay Rights," http://www.huffingtonpost.com, Nov. 15.

"In the hard-knock world of Washington politics, it may sound rather trite and old-fashioned to simply ask our leaders to come through on the promises they gave us when they were campaigning for office. I will take the frustrated voices who are demanding dignity and equality for themselves and their families in to this meeting with me and I'll make clear that the days of back room compromises of our rights are no longer acceptable. After all, these days I'm more comfortable wearing handcuffs than I am a power suit."

- Robin McGehee, co-founder/director of GetEQUAL, direct action LGBTQ equality organization, in an editorial titled "Back to the White House - to walk through the gates," about her experience (with 12 other activists) on Monday being arrested for chaining herself to a White House fence and on Wednesday attending a meeting in the White House with an Obama Administration official, http://gay.americablog.com, Nov. 17.

"Today is a day we remember those who have died because of senseless acts of violence. They simply died for being who they were. The names on the list were living, breathing, vibrant human beings. They were more than transgender. Each person on this list was a loved one, a loved one who will never return home. This isn't a day to celebrate. It isn't a day of empowerment. It's a day when we make a silent commitment to this list that we will make a better world. Today we remember and mourn our dead. This day is sacred."

- Marti Abernathy, Indiana-based transgender activist, in Chicago, at a candlelight vigil in observance of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, http://www.nowingaychicago.com, Nov. 21.

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