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What’s in a decade?

By |2009-12-31T09:00:00-05:00December 31st, 2009|Uncategorized|

Between The Lines is feeling a little nostalgic as we reach the end of 2009. But we’re not just thinking about the past year – Proposition 8 protests and debates, marriage and discrimination victories and defeats, what Obama did or didn’t say or do his first year in office – but the entire decade.
There was the Supreme Court decision to allow Boy Scouts of America to exclude gay men from its troops, a case where some Michigan scout troops stood up and said “no” to discrimination. There was Election Day 2004, when 11 states wrote anti-same-sex marriage amendments into their constitutions. There were wins in Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut. There were losses in Maine, California and New York.
In Michigan, the ’00s saw numerous cities ratify anti-discrimination ordinances and elect gay political officials. We saw our three largest companies – Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler – enact fair treatment for their employees. We lost domestic partnership benefits, but we saw universities and hospitals and state agencies step up and find a way around antiquated laws to give us and our families health care options. We saw new organizations form, while others were forced to shut their doors. We watched as Affirmations opened its new community center. We went to Pride after Pride after Pride.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have many victories in Michigan law this decade. Hate crimes and bullying legislation languish. Same-sex partners still cannot jointly adopt their children. Discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in public places is still legal in many places in our state. Sex stings and wrongful arrests still happen, LGBT kids are still made fun of and pushed around in our schools and hate crimes still happen.
But we have survived. And we have cheered together and cried together over our wins and losses. We’ve gotten into fights and we’ve mended wounds. We’ve lost people to death and to other states, but we’ve seen some other activists rise to the top to lead our organizations and our fights.
As we go into 2010, we at BTL encourage everyone in our state’s LGBT community to reflect on the past decade. Think about your own personal losses and wins, and then think about your community.
And then rest up. It’s been a long decade – and a hard one, both economically and in terms of fighting for our equality. But both a new year and a new decade bring so many opportunities to turn things around. New legislators to be brought into office, replacing anti-gay ones. New places to travel to and educate people about equality. New chances to pass our laws. To fight for something.
We may be tired, whether from holiday shopping or relentless activism, but we at BTL hope that another 10 years in Michigan’s LGBT community will be even better than the last 10. Things are only looking up, so here’s to another decade we look forward to writing articles about, reporting on and spending with our chosen family.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.