Finding the good in 2009

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Welcome 2010, and good riddance 2009. I believe most of us feel that way. Traveling back from the Pennsylvania Society on the train a couple weekends ago, I started to ponder just how bad 2009 had been. Then the optimist in me kicked in and found some bright spots. Here are a few of them, and I hope you can add to this small offering.

We ushered in a new president. After the last one, even Bozo the Clown would have been an improvement, but instead our new president not only broke the mold, he is also inspiring.

While he didn’t live up to some people’s expectations — you can’t rebuild Rome in a day — he certainly changed the scope of the political landscape for the LGBT community. We’re not going to reprint the list of his LGBT accomplishments here, as we did that a few weeks ago, but they far outnumber the achievements of every president to date combined — and that includes President Clinton. A note: I’ve given this president the benefit of the doubt that he’ll live up to his promises to the LGBT community. But even that, with my pragmatic view, has its limits.

The sixth-largest city in the nation now has a proud lesbian as mayor. And it’s in Houston, Texas. In California, the first openly gay man was elected speaker of the house of the state legislature. And it might be hard for many to appreciate, but we won far more political battles in 2009 than we lost. Our losses come in one major area: marriage equality.

On the city level, we saw the election of not one but three out judges to the bench. We have candidates running for almost every position imaginable. And statewide, there are now 16 municipalities with nondiscrimination laws. Even in the state legislature — the bastion of Neanderthals — we saw a hate-crimes bill finally pass, while a brave two — count them, two — senators actually introduced a marriage-equality bill. May it rest in peace.

This, for me, was a rather challenging year. I fell off a ladder and shattered my heel and was out of service for half the year. My dog Moishe saw his last day, and I dealt with the loss of some good friends. But, during those times of challenge, I learned the meaning of friends, who used every trick in the book to keep me on track.

That track means they were able to point me in the right direction, the mountain. They opened the door to new projects that inspire and challenge my abilities. For me, that expectation alone excites me for 2010.

Like my heel, we’re up and walking. Now, 2010, let’s run. Happy New Year to all of you, and here’s wishing you and our community an exciting and successful 2010.

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected] .