That was my first reaction when Ed Cramp mentioned he wanted to start a firm wide LGBTQ affinity group.
There’s no overt discrimination at the firm. The fact that anyone might be LGBTQ seemed to be completely irrelevant here. So why bother? Plus, I wanted to be known as a lawyer, not a gay lawyer.
And the major challenges and issues facing LGBTQ folks at the state and local level seemed handled well enough. Same sex marriage is legal. Being openly LGBTQ in the military is fine. And the sodomy laws were all struck down.
What’s the problem we had to solve?
Well, it turns out that as great as the civil rights and workplace advancements are – and they were hard fought victories — they remain tenuous and uncertain. In a dynamic and ever changing society, nothing is permanent. Obviously there is social and political backlash to every civil rights gain. The arc of history may bend toward justice, but there are lots of people working hard to keep the arc from bending at all.
So as we watch the protests and counter protests . . . . The mobs and the politicians who support them . . . . Suddenly it seems obvious that the journey is never over and the job is never done. For all the LGBTQ advances in the law, the cities and the enlightened employers, there is counter movement and effort. Eternal vigilance and effort is needed. Geez, more work to be done.
Though there are many successful out and proud LGBTQ partners and associates, there are others still wondering how safe, secure and confident they can be, either at work or in society at large.
So perhaps those of us who have long been in the figurative LGBTQ trenches and pride ourselves on a job well done should realize the job is not over. And maybe we have a duty to continue our work, telling our stories, educating our colleagues and supporting and encouraging those younger and still wondering how it all works.
So — DM Pride.