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FDL Movie Night: “Legalize Gay: The Civil Rights Movement of a Generation”

On Saturday night at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s “An Evening with Women” Wanda Sykes commented about the NAACP’s support of marriage equality:

Really is huge because the NAACP – their roots are so instilled in the church. That’s where their meetings and all of that – are held – in churches. So to come out and support same sex marriage. I’m so  thrilled that they have gotten past the point that it’s not about religion, it’s about rights.  Marriage really doesn’t have anything to do with religion. That’s why atheists get married. It’s about all the rights that comes along with it.

The NAACP’s support of marriage equality is one huge step forward for LGBT rights, and Sykes makes a very important point: Religion has been wrongly used to deny a minority rights that are given to the majority. Many are working to end this misplaced prejudice, and other prejudices, against the LGBT community. And as recent elections show, there is still more work to be done.

Tonight our guests are Matt Comer, Karl Abad and Mark Rivera who will be discussing how we can help further and secure LGBT equality, the focus of the documentary Legalize Gay, which just aired on LogoTV. Legalize Gay shows  LGBT young people and their allies making a difference through activism, social media, and marketing. Rugby player Ben Cohen, an ally, started Stand Up, a globally branded anti-bullying foundation and has joined with openly gay football player Brian Sims to bring the message of inclusiveness to sports teams. Controversial clothing manufacturer American Apparel created Legalize Gay tees which have become a steady seller and have helped create and broaden awareness.

Meanwhile LGBT groups like Campus Pride–which sponsors Camp Pride, a leadership and coalition building retreat for LGBT youth and allies as well as being a visible presence on college campuses across the country —  the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund which supports LGBT candidates, and the Human Rights Campaign are making huge strides thanks to the contributions of concerned individuals.

And within the film Legalize Gay are the stories of some of the these individuals whose efforts and activism are opening America for LGBT (and Q) equality.  All-American college wrestler Hudson Taylor wore the HRC equality symbol on his headgear and started Athlete Ally to end LGBT discrimination in sports.  At Spelman College, Jeshawna Wholley brought the first LGBT Pride to her historically black college, joined by the men of Morehouse College (another historically black college) who participated in a drag competition. She, like Daniel Hernandez the campaign volunteer who came to the rescue of U.S. Congresswoman Gabbie Giffords during that shooting rampage in Arizona, were honored by President Obama.

Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian mothers, speaks before the Iowa Legislature, and high school student Daniel Sparks who enlists allies like the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland, standing up to his school board to get inclusive, comprehensive sex education taught in Parma, Ohio for all students, not just heteros.

Straight allies Miss New York Claire Buffie and rugby star Ben Cohen share their experiences and reasons for championing LGBT equality; while Mara Keisling, founding executive director of the National Center For Transgender Equality states proudly:

We are just at the point now to get into people’s mindset that they also have a gender identity. These kids are still the pioneers.

LGBTQ visibility has increased so much in the past decade, and although DADT has been repealed, there’s still ENDA and DOMA. Today’s young activists are building on the experiences of the past utilizing new skills, new strategies and new technologies to bring equality for all.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.