Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Despite successes, fight for gay rights far from over

When progress moves at a woefully glacial pace, it is easy to allow it to move forward without notice. However, any successes, any minor victories, are noteworthy, especially as more and more voices shout to be heard.

Recently in the U.S., there have been a number of improvements in the fight for LGBTQ equality.

U.S. District Judge Avenda Wright Allen has ruled that Virginia’s ban of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, especially important as it marks the first such ruling to take place in the South.

Federal Judges in Utah and Oklahoma have reconsidered laws limiting marriage equality. In Ohio a judge issued a ruling that created doubt in the state’s ban.

Due to the recent pace of progress there is a chance of Supreme Court tests as early as next year, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The news however that caught most eyes – which is both a negative and positive aspect about our celebrity worshiping culture – is that actress Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) came out at the recent Human Rights Campaign Foundation “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas.

After a brave, tearful admission, she spoke of how she was tired of hiding and that she hopes that she can be of help now, just as the attendees and their strength had helped her.

“We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise,” she said.

It was undeniably moving, and the heartfelt way in which it was delivered spoke to many.

Page is a young actress playing an integral character in the upcoming superhero blockbuster X-Men: Days of Futures Past, and has an entire future of film ahead of her. In short, this was undoubtedly brave of her. The scrutiny surrounding actresses has always been high. Hollywood is always looking for its next “IT Girl,” which is why it is rare to hear of an actress who has come out, especially so publicly.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

It would be easy to think of this topic as tired or as one that has been talked to death, but until the problem is solved, until equality is the norm rather than the fight, it is one that needs continued presence in our newspapers, our Twitter feeds, and our pop-culture. I have seen plenty of comments already regarding Page’s decision to come out and how it should not have been made into a big deal, how she should not have had to do it. On the lesser scale of things I have seen people saying if straight people do not have to come out why do gay people have to come out?

Well, of course Page did not need to come out, but her decision to do so and on such a public platform meant a great deal to a community who so rarely sees themselves reflected on the big screen. It meant a lot to those who are no longer teenagers and are still grappling with their personal happiness and their secrets. It detracts from the significance of the moment for people to wonder why she had to. Today, what she did matters.

I hear a lot of people claiming that they are blind to sexuality and to race. When they look at a person that is not what they see first, so why should it be a big deal? Simply put, because in most cases it is, in a longer version, most people who claim to be blind are also blind to the hate – it is an ambivalent stance to take and it is one that does no one any favors.

It would be tremendous in the future to see a community where sexuality is not anything to bat an eyelash at, but today we live in a world where homophobia still runs rampant, where the LGBTQ community is still denied basic equalities, where there is still little fair representation.

So I applaud Virginia, I cheer for Oklahoma and Utah, and I hope that Page is not denied a wonderful career due to her sexual preference. Every change, every move towards progress, is worthy of your notice.

There is a line being drawn in history of those of who oppose marriage equality and those who support and actively fight for it. Ultimately, there is a side you want to find yourself on.

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Despite successes, fight for gay rights far from over