Gays, What Are You Fighting For?

By Valdamar Archuleta
Gays, What Are You Fighting For?

When you think of LGBT culture what comes to mind is the imagery of parades, marches, rainbows, and in-your-face actions all to bring awareness and advocacy for Civil Rights. The impression is filled with sentiments of injustice and a struggle to achieve equality. However, is it time to rebrand LGBT culture in a way that shows assimilation into the mainstream world? Have we reached a point where we have achieved the equality of our endeavor? We won, is it time to turn in our victim card?

The Stonewall Riot of 1969 is often seen as the beginning of the modern-day gay rights movement. This led to decades of conflict and triumph as we took steps forward to achieve our goal, equality.

Massive moments like the 1979 and 1993 Marches on Washington, the disastrous AIDS epidemic, the murder of Matthew Shepard, Proposition 8 in California, and even Amendment 2 right here in Colorado are events that moved the battlegrounds forward. Fighting for our rights became part of the very fabric of our community and for many, it’s part of our identity.

 I lived in Colorado Springs, a big military town, in 2011 when ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ came to an end. As an active volunteer at the local Pride Center, I was ecstatic. We won! I remember the festivities at the local gay bar that night and the infectious celebratory mood. It was amazing.

Just four years later with the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, it was held that same-sex marriage was a fundamental right and was protected by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. The battle for gay marriage was over. Another victory celebration ensued.

At this time I was serving on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Springs Pride Organization. At the first board meeting after this ruling one of our board members asked, “so, what are we fighting for now?”. After a pause of contemplation, an interesting conversation took place. Our executive director laid out a compelling argument as to why a ‘Pride Center’ would always be needed. The questioning board member didn’t seem convinced. This was the same board member who every year would interject the argument that Pride Festivals were counterproductive. At the time I didn’t understand why he was being so difficult. Didn’t he realize how important LGBT advocacy was? However, after some deep consideration, I realized he had a point. What are we fighting for?

In June of 2020, the Supreme Court gave us another victory. In a case involving employment discrimination the Court, with a 6-3 ruling, granted the rights of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the LGBT community. The country reached a point where we, in the LGBT community, have the same rights and protections from a systemic standpoint as our fellow Americans. 

About a year ago I was approached on the street by two young people with clipboards. They asked me, “do you want to sign this in support of gay rights?”. I asked them, “I’m gay, what rights don’t I have?”. They didn’t have an answer for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everything is perfect. There are people who still have issues with the LGBT community and others who harbor animosity towards them as well. There are jerks out there. Spoiler alert, there always will be. But when you look at the big picture you have to admit that this group of ‘homophobes’ is a constantly shrinking minority of the population.

Today, the way to defeat this homophobic mindset is through personal conversations and building a community that includes everyone. Even the homophobes. This is how we change hearts and minds. Name-calling, protesting, shouting, and campaigns lecturing the public won’t work at this level.

In the past, the goal of the LGBT movement has been a desire for acceptance into society and a chance to assimilate. We just wanted the same right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness everyone else had.

Today, that goal has been moved. Now the message being delivered by LGBT advocates is one of deconstructing societal norms and rebuilding them around an “accepted” ideology. The LGBT rights movement has been hijacked by individuals who want to use perpetual victim-hood to push a political theory. This doesn’t help the LGBT community nor is it a very popular or unifying message. In reality, it’s counterproductive.

The LGBT community has to figure out how to disconnect victim culture from its identity. This ingrained assumption that being LGBT automatically makes you part of an oppressed group needing empathy has to be replaced. We don’t need anyone’s pity. We’re moving forward! The identity of the LGBT community today is victory, empowerment, and success, not victimhood or oppression.

The desire to be a part of a movement or effort to make things better is admirable. Gays have been very successful at doing this. It’s time to take those skills and fight for someone or something else.

Education, homelessness, healthcare, our Veterans, crime, animals, the environment, the list of causes goes on and on. The world is full of ways we can put our time, energy, and resources to use.

If you’re set on the LGBT cause there are some areas I will admit could use some attention. One would be LGBT youth. Unfortunately, we do still have some young people living in environments where acceptance and understanding of their sexual orientation could use some improvement. Organizations focused on helping these kids are still necessary and could use our support. Fortunately, this is an area that’s quickly improving and becoming less of an issue. One-on-one conversations and positive interactions to build bridges are what will fix this situation over time.

Another necessary avenue of LGBT rights that still needs to be fought is outside our country. According to the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, there are 74 countries where LGBT relationships are illegal. Twelve of these countries punish the crime of homosexuality with death. OutSpoken Middle East (outspokenmiddleeast.com) is a great source of information on what’s happening in some of these areas of the world.

We, as the LGBT community in the United States, have come a long way. We no longer have the fight against the system we have had in the past. It’s time we let go of the narrative of persecution that once had an overshadowing influence on our culture. It’s time we gays in America stop selfishly focusing on their own interests, join the rest of society, and advocate for causes beyond our own. The LGBT community is full of creative, talented, and hard-working people. We have been blessed to live in a time and country where we don’t face the extreme opposition that others have, and some still do. By taking our flair and abilities to work for others we will contribute to the betterment of society and further the overall acceptance of the LGBT community.


About the Author:

Valdamar Archuleta is a Colorado Native and the President of the Log Cabin Republicans of Colorado.