Stop and appreciate progress that has been made

With all the attacks on LGBTQ rights recently, especially with many coming directly from Trump administration policies, it’s difficult at times to stop and appreciate how far the community has truly come.

Sometimes it’s worth noting not only the most recent wins (many are highlighted in the Mombian column on page 14), but also the not-too-long-ago strides the community has made. Philadelphia is a model city when it comes to changes in the past few decades that embrace the LGBTQ community.

And, while the Gayborhood still thrives, it’s almost hard to distinguish it from other neighborhoods all around Philly and New Jersey. Despite an uptick in hate crimes in the past couple of years, there are few who would say it’s not better and more welcoming almost everywhere in the tristate area for gays than it was in the 1970s, ’80s and even ’90s.

And as LGBTQ people of a certain age can attest, there used to be only certain places, such as Provincetown, Mass., where same-sex couples could even comfortably hold hands while walking down the street, let alone anything else. Or even back in the day, Rehoboth Beach was one of the earliest nearby areas where, with a wink and a nod, LGBT folks knew it was safe to be who they were and go to a bed-and-breakfast and ask for one king bed. There truly weren’t too many places even recently where gays were made to feel entirely welcomed, let alone embraced.

And while some may consider it a negative that the entire community isn’t pushing harder to advance LGBT rights or candidates, others may see it as a good thing. Isn’t it a huge positive step that a lesbian’s main issue may be her own healthcare options? Or that two gay dads may be more concerned with issues concerning their child’s school than getting an LGBT candidate elected just because he/she is LGBT? One could argue that getting those LGBT candidates elected into office would avert the LGBT-related school issues, but those dads may be interested in issues that relate to all students, too.

It is a testament to just how mainstream we have become: LGBTQ people are the same as other people with the same concerns about taxes, income, healthcare, etc. That many in the community are worried about some of those issues more than or just as much as LGBTQ-specific issues is a fabulous thing.

We should never stop fighting until full equality is reached. And we won’t. But, let’s take a moment to savor the progress.