This Gay Uncles Day, Send Donations Not Flowers

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Today is Gay Uncles Day. I could tell you how wonderful my son’s gay uncles are but you already know that. My brother Ryan and his husband Jason are beautiful examples to my son and my niece and nephew, both individually and as a couple.

We are blessed to have many honorary gay uncles in our lives, including many of their friends and mine, far too many to name. We treasure them all.

I’m not sending them flowers, though (sorry, guys!). I believe a more fitting gift on this day, for anyone who has or loves a gay uncle (or LGBTQ aunt for that matter) is a donation to an organization working to ensure and protect civil rights of all LGBQT people. And votes. And every day conversations in our community. 

Wait ...  gay marriage is legal, so everything is OK, right? Well, not really.

Actually not at all. 

Progress on crucial LGBTQ health initiatives in in danger of being rolled back by the current administration. Today there are laws protecting people based on race, sex, disability, and religion – but there are no explicit protections for people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity in all areas of public life. And of course, the  Supreme Court hangs in the balance. (Here's a great piece from Lambda Legal opposing nominee Brett Kavanaugh). 

It's a scary time in this country. And I'm keenly aware that as I write this I'm writing from a place of privilege. It's only heart today to say that Gay Uncles Day isn't just about white, upper class gay uncles. (I do love you guys.)

When I say all "LGBTQ people" I do mean all.  For instance, from the HRC: "LGBTQ African Americans  live at the intersection of racism, homophobia and transphobia and face a number of critical issues, including economic insecurity, violence and harassment, HIV and healthy inequity,  religious intolerance, and criminal injustice."

I also mean gay uncles of all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities.

And gay uncles who are still living in the closet for fear of coming out, like so many I know here in the Deep South.

And gay uncles who are no longer here because of a health epidemic our government and country ignored for far too long, one whose ramifications are still felt today. I mean the gay uncles who are being diagnosed today. [Silent epidemic: black gay males face 50-50 risk of HIV in US]

And gay uncles who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction. (As a sober person, this one is particularly close to my heart.) 

I mean all of the gay uncles and aunts, cousins and fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. 

That's what I mean. 

There are so many organizations on the front lines of the fight today. I encourage my friends to join me in learning about and supporting one that calls to you, including: Lambda Legal, HRC, and PFLAG

Happy Gay Uncles Day.