By Bruce Christian, Dec. 4, 2014.
Time to pass the torch to a new generation of LGBT activists
What can I leave you? What little bit of common sense, for which I’ve been searching for years, is worth writing?
When I stepped down as Echo’s managing editor in 1999, to take a job heading an editorial department for a trade magazine group, I believed my days writing for this magazine were over. But I was drawn back out of commitment to the community, and because I felt so much still needed to be done.
So, I returned as a columnist, and occasionally I found time to do some real reporting. That time is becoming less and less. I feel badly when Echo approaches me and asks if I can write a story, and I have to turn it down, so I’ve come to a conclusion that it’s best to get out of the way and allow promising new writers the opportunity.
There is little secret to those of you who have followed what I’ve written through the years that I have tried to focus on four major issues that concern or concerned the LGBT community: controlling and eliminating hate crimes; repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; pushing marriage equality; and promoting employment nondiscrimination here in Arizona and federally.
For the most part, hate crimes and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have been settled. Marriage equality is spreading from state to state through court action, and America’s corporate world has pretty much mooted employment nondiscrimination.
While it remains legal to fire someone solely for his or her sexual orientation in Arizona, several other states and from federal jobs, most organizations simply won’t go down that road. They recognize the public outcry would harm their image.
Examples of people being fired because of their sexual orientation are more difficult to find. This probably is why a recent study shows the majority of Americans actually believe sexual orientation already is a protected class under Equal Employment Opportunity regulations. It isn’t.
At any rate, I promised myself more than 10 years ago I would sheathe my pen when I believed the LGBT issues important to so many of us had been resolved. I believe that for all practical purposes they have, and so this is my final column.
It has been a great pleasure to appear on occasion on Valley radio, television and newspapers representing our proud LGBT community.
It has been a great joy having an avenue to write common sense approaches to problems that divide so many.
It has been humbling when I’ve written something that has helped a reader understand an issue better and become more educated on the topic.
But the journey also has been frustrating at times.
It has been frustrating that it has taken so long for the things mentioned above to become resolved. We are a society that wants instant gratification and we get impatient when the wheels of change move so slowly.
It has been frustrating, because so many times I felt I was preaching only to the choir.
It is becoming more frustrating for me, because I believe my opinions and thoughts on what is common sense are not relevant to a younger, more vibrant group of LGBT activists.
During the past year, it has become clear to me that today’s young LGBT activists have the energy, enthusiasm and desire to continue the march for equality in their own manner using today’s social media tools.
It also has become clear, it is time to allow them to carry the torch and let them run with it.
So, let me just say thank you to Echo owner and publisher Bill Orovan for giving me a platform all these years. And let me thank you — the Echo readers — for supporting the magazine and me.
It’s been … fun!
Bruce Christian is a former managing editor of Echo Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.