LGBTQ Struggles Do Not End with Marriage Equality

nicole lashombNicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times
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Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times  Photo. TRT Archives

Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times
Photo. TRT Archives

By: Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief—

Since the SCOTUS decision leading to the legalization of same-sex marriage across the nation, I have found myself breathing a bit easier these days. Like many in our community, I celebrate. I celebrate because no more do my wife and I need to carry our Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy with us while traveling within our own country. No longer will we be concerned about our legal marital status if we faced an emergency in a region that did not recognize our union as it happened even just a few years ago.

While away on vacation, we both came down with the flu, which lead to severe dehydration, forcing us to visit a local clinic to seek medical care. While we were at the reception desk checking in, the woman behind the counter asked us each for our emergency contact. When we told her we were married and were each other’s contact, she literally refused to write down our respective names in the records. When we demanded it further, she ignored us as if she couldn’t hear our request. We spoke to a manager that night and she stood by her employee. Simply put, our marriage was not recognized this time and many subsequent times either. Yes, I celebrate. [pullquote]I celebrate because religious fundamentalists can no longer claim that their marriage is somehow more important, or carries a deeper meaning that ours. Our marriage weighs the same. We are equal.[/pullquote]

I celebrate because religious fundamentalists can no longer claim that their marriage is somehow more important, or carries a deeper meaning that ours. Our marriage weighs the same. We are equal. I celebrate because for the first time, we are recognized as family, not just in certain states, but in the whole country. This gives us a myriad of privileges not available to us before. I celebrate because I don’t have to explain to anyone who my wife is to me—everyone knows what marriage looks like. I celebrate for those who choose not to get married because at least they have the choice. I celebrate for those who cannot celebrate any longer, those who have come and gone before us. I celebrate in honor of those who lost everything when their partner died and distant family members took their estate because the law did not protect them. I celebrate because the law finally protects our family. I celebrate because if we choose to renew our vows on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest or South, we can. Yes, I celebrate.

Today, I celebrate and I will always be grateful to have been given this right that so many others have always been afforded without question. [pullquote]However, LGBTQ struggles are a far cry from being over. If only all of our problems disappeared with marriage equality, but they don’t. It is not that simple, not even close.[/pullquote]

However, LGBTQ struggles are a far cry from being over. If only all of our problems disappeared with marriage equality, but they don’t. It is not that simple, not even close.

Some may consider that the biggest challenge ever faced by the LGBTQ community has been conquered. We won, didn’t we? Now that we have the freedom to marry, what’s the point? Right? Wrong. Such a thought is grossly limiting and doesn’t even bother to consider the intersectionality of our community, let alone humanity in general.

In our LGBTQ community, we still struggle in a world where racism is pervasive and all around us. It can be as blatant as the offensive defense of the Confederate flag and what it historically represents for marginalized communities, or the disproportionate number of black men whose lives have been taken by law enforcement. In both cases, these are members of our community. Women are still fighting for equitable rights, equal pay, and control over what they decide to do with their bodies regarding reproductive choices, but that is still legislated by an overwhelming majority of men. These women are members of our community. Trans women, especially trans women of color are being killed at a more rapid pace than any other member of the LGBT movement due to hate crimes, most of which are unsolved. They are a part of our community. Here in Massachusetts, we still do not have public accommodations for the trans community. They are members of our community and we have a Governor who does not seem to be interested in fighting alongside us in this battle. Still in this country, LGBT people can be fired from their job for being out and for simply living authentically. The list goes on to include healthcare disparities, economic challenges, youth homelessness, poverty, HIV/AIDS care, homo and transphobia, religious attack on sexual orientation and gender identity, and bullying at the elementary, middle, high school, higher education and professional levels. All of these individuals suffering from injustices mentioned or not above, myself included, are members of our community. In some cases, unfortunately, the perpetrators also are members of our community.

So, while I am celebrating my “I do,”  I am also remembering and not forgetting that although winning marriage equality is a triumph, there are so many battles to be won before we can truly be victorious. It is my commitment, our commitment at The Rainbow Times, to continue to provide a platform and expose the truths of it all, no matter how convenient or inconvenient it may be. I hope you join us and support our product in moving our collective struggles ahead, married or not.

* Nicole Lashomb is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times. She holds a BM from the Crane School of Music and an MBA from Marylhurst University. She may be reached by emailing editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

 

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