“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Whoever saves one life, it is as if he [or she] has saved the whole world.” — The Talmud
The histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) people are replete with incredible pain and immense pride, of overwhelming repression and victorious rejoicing, of stifling invisibility and dazzling illumination. Throughout the ages, dominant groups have labeled LGBTQ people using many terms: from “sinners,” “sick,” and “criminal,” to having a “preference, “orientation,” “identity,” and even being given “a gift from God.”
Though same-sex attraction and sexuality and gender nonconformity and expression has probably always existed in human and most non-human species, the concept of “homosexuality,” “bisexuality,” “transgenderism,” “heterosexuality,” and “gender conformity,” in fact, sexual and gender identities in general and the construction of identities and sense of community based on these identities is a relatively modern concept. It is only within the last 160 or so years that there has been an organized and sustained political effort to protect the rights of people with same-sex and both-sex attractions, and those who cross traditional constructions of gender identities and expression.
As we enter the momentous month of June, a time set aside in countries throughout the world to commemorate and celebrate our annual LGBTQ Pride events, we can take stock and reflect back on our setbacks and also on our victories great and small over the past years within the personal, interpersonal, institutional, social, political, and religious realms