Still A Country for Old Men (and Women)
Generally when we in the LGBT community discuss the older generation, it is a somewhat dark subject. While there are very few people in the world I wish death upon ( ok maybe this guy ) there is a general consensus in our community that the only way for us to gain a complete victory on our civil rights, is to have the older generation die off. But is this really the case?
While there is an obvious demographic split with younger people far more likely to be supportive of LGBT civil rights as seen this graph from 2009, this is not the only factor to consider. It is my firm belief, that young people in the 1960’s and 1970’s were more likely than their parents to be accepting of interracial marriage and civil rights in general. However, one only has to look around today to see that racism is unfortunately still present, and still an evil that permeates our society. We ostracize those who make their hate public, make laws in an attempt to prevent that hate from influencing employment and house, and still the hate persists.
In a similar manner we should expect to be fighting against the hate, intolerance, and secret bigotry against the LGBT community for decades. This doesn’t mean we need to take it laying down, but rather we need to fight back, we need to not forget our allies, we need to make sure we are not being discriminatory even as we are being discriminated against.
The picture above is George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, and was a Republican president from 1989-1993. He is 89 years old, he and his wife Barbara Bush just served as official witnesses to a same sex couple’s wedding. I’m not going to get bogged down into the politics during his presidency, or what his positions were 20 years ago, I wasn’t a fan of his then, and looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I am still not a fan of decisions he made during his presidency. What’s important here is my opinion that we have people of a much older generation, supporting LGBT civil rights, and they shouldn’t be written off as our enemies.
Why is it we in the LGBT community, who understand what prejudice feels like first hand, are so quick to prejudge others based solely upon their age? We need to understand and fight our own prejudices, even as we work to fight against the prejudices of others. Let us not forget our allies. Let us not forget how many of the older generation are veterans in the war for civil liberties, how many fought for racial equality, women’s rights, and who will fight for LGBT equality.
Let us not marginalize our allies simply because they have grown old, let us instead remember it was an 83 year old woman named Edith Windsor who brought the case to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act in the US.