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VIEWPOINTS Not a banner, but a historic LGBT year
by Mark Segal
2013-01-02

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Do you appreciate the watershed moment in LGBT history we are witnessing? If any of you doubt that we are living in historic times for LGBT equality, just note what you're about to witness in the next few weeks and months. The first president of the United States who campaigned openly and often on the issue of LGBT equality and won is about to be inaugurated for a second term, and most likely somewhere in that second term will nominate the first out cabinet member, as well as host a landslide of equality initiatives. The first out elected U.S. senator, Tammy Baldwin, will be sworn into office, along with the largest-ever delegation of our Congress members. The Supreme Court will hear debates on marriage equality and will rule by the summer. More out state and city elected officials throughout the nation will take office than ever before. Do you feel it yet?

Not yet? Then take a look at the issues and actions that started to take flight in the last 12 months. One that I'm particularly proud of is the nation's largest LGBT capital building project that is taking place in Philadelphia. It's called the John C. Anderson Apartments, an LGBT-friendly senior community. The 56-unit building will house and give dignity to LGBT seniors. And that's the point: LGBT seniors are one group that we, as a community, have not begun to adequately address the needs of. We know from the few studies on LGBT seniors that their number-one concern is housing. Philadelphia hopefully will start a new wave of building across the nation. At present, the next to break ground is in Chicago, and San Francisco is looking at 2015.

Still not there? How about the advances in immigration for LGBT couples or the threat of foreign aid being withheld if Uganda enacts its proposed "kill the gays" bill? Has anyone noticed the host of Republicans quickly trying to change their positions on marriage equality? Or the assistance the Department of Health and Human Services is giving to build and increase health services to LGBT communities around the nation? Or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development increasing its efforts to combat LGBT discrimination in housing? It would be hard to find an area that has not improved toward equality in the last 12 months.

A year ago, this column predicted that it would be a good year. The stock market may use the term that I had "inside information," and while I had high expectations, nothing was a done deal when that column was written. And while there were issues that were on my mind as it was being written, never in my wildest thoughts would I have expected how great of a year 2012 was—for the community, for the body politic and, I'm happy to say, personally. And, of course, we promised to make some predictions for 2013, some of which might actually happen. If you haven't noticed, those predictions are in the first paragraph.

Mark Segal is the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com .


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