Why It Gets Better: Calf. Sen. Mark Leno in His Own Words

From an Op-Ed in The Daily Journal

As we celebrate LGBT Pride month this June, I cannot help but reflect on how far the LGBT rights movement has come, both on a societal as well as a personal level. Back in 1969, I came out as an 18-year-old gay man — a Stonewall baby. While I was blessed with support from my family, it was a lonely and frightening experience. Back then, being gay was still considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and consensual relationships between two adults of the same gender were felonies in every state of this country. At that time, I never imagined I would ever march openly in a parade celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) identity, or that a career as an openly gay legislator was an option for me. Mainstream acceptance of LGBT rights seemed unrealistic and same-sex marriage seemed like an impossible dream.

Today, we find ourselves in a new and exciting reality. With many states legalizing same-sex marriage, and both Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage (DOMA) cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, it appears our community may have hit a national tipping point in the struggle for equality. Much work remains to be done, as there are still no federal laws prohibiting discrimination that yet exists in 30 states, but the trajectory is clear. The American people increasingly support the rights of LGBT people to marry whomever they love with full recognition and protection.

Though we still have much to go, we’ve come a long way baby and that’s another reason why it gets better.

Read the full op-ed

Why It Gets Better is a series of postings showing, real-time, concrete, tangible ways that life is getting better for LGBT people.

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