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Showing results for tags 'gay rights'.
Winter 1984 It was a cold and grey winter’s day. The grey sky seemed to hang heavy over everything, stripping away what little colour was left in that winter landscape. I had travelled across Merseyside, on my own, that morning to make this appointment. I’d needed to change trains in the centre of Liverpool, changing from one metro train onto another one in one of the few underground stations in the city. That second train took me under the River Mersey and out into the suburban area of the Wirral. Once I had arrived at the station, I left the train and waited outside. I’d been nervous throughout that journey. I had arranged this appointment, I couldn’t not keep it, not to turn up was not acceptable, but I was so nervous about keeping it. Now, waiting out on the pavement, my nerves had ramped up to another level. Was this going to help me? And what if I was attracted to him? How could I manage that? I was eighteen and that summer I had left college but without the qualifications for my then planned career (which, with hindsight, I wouldn’t have been happy in). I was unemployed with so much time on my hands (it was the 1980s and with the high unemployment rates in Liverpool I didn’t stand much of a chance of finding a job). I was facing up to so many different things about myself but facing that slow realisation on my own. I’d learnt that people didn’t want to hear my problems, the ones I wasn’t too ashamed to share. I had seen the advert, months ago, tucked away in the back of a Christian youth magazine in which all the articles were written by adults. I had kept that magazine, securely hidden amongst a pile of other old magazines. The text of that advert was simple: “HOMOSEXUALITY. There is a positive alternative to the homosexual lifestyle through Christ.” The wording leapt out at me, there was a Christian answer to my problem, to the thing I would never dare to ask anyone about. Since puberty, I’d had the growing realisation that I was homosexual (back then I couldn’t bring myself to say I was gay, that was going too far). I was in so much denial about my sexuality and at every chance I tried to push it down and deny that it was even there, it was all so tiring. Since an early teenager I had been a member of an Evangelical Christian church, our local Anglican church. I worked so hard at being a good Christian, and good Christians were certainly not homosexual, or so I believed. I knew being homosexual meant I was condemned to hell, it was there at church, that belief, that certainty, and I had breathed it into my very soul and believed it all. I was a virgin then, I hadn’t even kissed another boy, I had certainly not held another boy’s hand, but I knew that just my desire to do so condemned me to hell. I wanted saving from that, I couldn’t just be sent to hell for something I had no control over, could I? Then I saw that advert, from an organisation called True Freedom Trust (TFT), who called themselves a “Teaching/Counselling Ministry” and gave a post office box address in The Wirral, not far from where I lived. It had taken me weeks, and screwing up all the courage I had, to write to TFT, sending them a stamped-and-addressed envelope. When it returned, I read the handful of leaflets it contained cover to cover and all over again before carefully hiding them away, I didn’t want my mother finding them. They came with a letter offering me the chance to meet someone from TFT for counselling. Again it took me weeks to screw-up my courage, but eventually I wrote back to them and asked to meet for counselling. That was how I ended up standing there on the pavement, outside that Wirral train station, waiting. I was waiting for HM, from TFT. I was meeting him for counselling. A car pulled up at the curbside there, it was HM. He was a thin, middle-aged man with a five-o’clock shadow so thick on his chin that he looked like he already needed to shave. But the thing that struck me so hard about him was how careworn and miserable he was, no joy came from him. Even when he shook my hand, he seemed so unhappy, the handshake so slight and quick. I had feared that I could be attracted to him, but his joyless personality was so unattractive. We drove to the TFT’s office, housed in a local Anglican church. There HM told me the TFT theology. They did not believe that being homosexual, on its own, was a sin, but any sexual expression of it was. The sin was in the act. All I had to do to avoid hell was to remain celibate, never have sex with another man. Hearing this was such a relief, this was my fire escape out of hell and I could so easily do it. I was young, a virgin, and had never had a relationship, would I ever miss something I’d never had? I was so grateful to HM; I was saved from hell and it came at a low price. We then talked about the leaflets HM had sent me. Three of them were testimonies, short biographies, from men who had “turned away” from the homosexual lifestyle and become heterosexual, all three men finished their stories by saying they were getting married to a woman. When I mentioned these, HM’s face lit up and we talked about them. He saw me as perfect candidate for this change; I was young, innocent and had never wanted to be homosexual. I listened to what he said and drank it all in. The fire escape could lead to paradise, or so it seemed. I left the TFT’s office believing everything I had been told. It was such a physical relief; I wasn’t going to hell, I just had to follow a few rules and I could change and be free. I had been so terrified of my sexuality, seeing it as something I had no power over but which was destroying me from within. Now there was a way of escaping that damnation. At first it was all so easy, I’d not had a relationship so being celibate did not seem a great sacrifice, especially as it would save my soul. I was still deeply closeted but I was living in an environment that was not safe to come out into. The Evangelical church I was a member of was homophobic; that homophobia was covert rather than overt, but I could still read it plainly. I saw HM on a sort of regular basis. At first, we met in the TFT office and we would talk about TFT theology; in reality, I would say something and he would tell me what I needed to do. Like so much of Evangelical Christianity, he always had an answer for me; he always knew what I had to do. It was never him asking me questions and helping me to find out what I wanted to do, he just told me what I had to do. Then HM offered me “healing of the memories” as a way to “heal” me and turn me heterosexual. I readily agreed. I was now desperate for “change” and “healing” in my life. I still hated my sexuality; I still wanted it out of my life, so this offer seemed like another fire escape, a way out of my own personal hell. “Healing of the memories” consisted of me lying on a sofa and HM, after he’d prayed over me for God to open my mind and my memories, would sit at the head of sofa, on a wooden chair, and “guide” me through reliving painful/traumatic memories. The first memory he had me relive was my birth. I lay back on the sofa, HM prayed over me for God to open up my memories, I closed my eyes and nothing came into my mind. I remembered nothing about my birth and I panicked. I wasn’t being faithful to God, there was something wrong with me, God wasn’t opening up my memories, I had angered God, and HM would be upset and angry at me. So my wonderful imagination kicked in and I made up a narrative of my own birth there and then. I imagined that I was a forceps delivery and that I didn’t want to be born, I didn’t want to pulled out of the warm and safe place I had been living in; I was scared and afraid of this bright and cold world I was being pulled into. All very dramatic and all very indicative of my mental health back then. (Years later, I would find out that I was a caesarean birth. What I said back then was just fiction, no miracle of me suddenly finding a lost memory) I met HM regularly for “Healing of the memories”, about once a month, for the next six months. Always he would have me “relive” a memory where my father had let me down or my mother had taken control of something, telling me what I had to do. Always HM told me that this would “repair” my relationship with my parents and “heal” me. (With the benefit of time and hindsight, I am now deeply suspicious of HM’s motives with which memories he guided me to relive. Always they would be ones where my father let me down, where my father was weak, and where my mother was taking control and telling me what to do, my mother being dominant. There is an old and discredited theory called Learned Behaviour. It states that a man is gay because his father is weak and/or absent and his mother is strong and dominant [Back in 1984, Learned Behaviour just plainly ignored lesbians, bisexual people and trans people, but it is a very pathetic and untrue theory.] I am now almost certain HM was pushing me towards that theory. The irony is that I had two very strong-willed and dominant parents, neither one was weak) At the time, I didn’t have any of this insight and HM’s “counselling” only reinforced to me that my parents were to “blame” for my sexuality, to blame for the misery I was living in. It drove a wedge between me and my parents, damaging an already difficult relationship. Now I am ashamed of the way I behaved towards them, but back then I was deeply closeted and being told to blame my parents for it, and I did so because I knew nothing else. But none of this “counselling” was working. There was no change in my sexuality, if anything it was becoming more dominant in my mind. I would see handsome men everywhere and be attracted to them. I had started having crushes on some men I knew. This all left me feeling deeply ashamed and guilty. Wasn’t my sexuality supposed to be changing? Wasn’t I supposed to be leaving behind the temptation of my homosexuality? But I wasn’t. I would lie awake at night and beg God to turn me straight, but there was no change. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t God listening to me? Was I to be condemned to this cold and lonely living for the rest of my life? Why had God stopped loving me? Or had God never loved me in the first place? I now know I was suffering from depression, but at the time it seemed that I was living in my own personal hell. That fire escape had not worked, but I was still struggling to walk up it, it was the only option I thought I had and it was destroying me. My mother sent me to my GP because of the insomnia and extremely low energy levels I had. My GP said I was depressed, something I couldn’t/wouldn’t hear. Bible-believing Christians didn’t get depressed because that was against God’s will, or so I believed. He prescribed me tranquillisers. I only took them because my mother expected me to. One morning, I woke up and got dressed and then sat down on the edge of my bed. I was alone in the house, both my parents were at work, and suddenly it was all too much for me. I took my morning tranquilliser and then I took another one. Coldly, I carried on taking them; I would overdose on them and finally stop all this pain. My rather tight gag-reflex stepped in, though, and I choked on the third pill. It caught in my throat and I coughed and coughed and then retched and then I spat the pill back up again. I wept because I had been so stupid and weak, or so I felt. I had been feeling suicidal for months before that but it had never gone beyond just thoughts. Each time I would dwell on the idea of suicide, the idea of ending all of this pain and misery, and then another thought would jump into my mind. If I killed myself that was a sin and I’d go straight to hell for it, and I was terrified of hell. That fear kept the act of suicide to a mere thought and desire, and not too well of a constructed plan, but that morning I acted on that desire. It terrified me what I could actually do, how much I could physically harm myself, and I told no one. They would think I was crazy, I was mad, I was worse, and how could they understand? They would say it was because I was homosexual. I certainly couldn’t tell HM, he talked so much about change and leaving the “homosexual lifestyle”. But I was also finding it harder and harder to hide my symptoms of depression. Being celibate was such a lonely existence. I was keeping everyone at arm’s length because I feared that intimacy would lead to sin, and I feared they would find out the truth, but I hated being so lonely too. I saw HM for a little over eighteen months, but it was during the last six months that everything seemed to spiral out of control. Firstly, the organist of my church was expelled for being gay. It was discovered that his close friend was actually his male lover and they were told not to attend our church anymore. When this happened, I told HM about it, I was so shocked and afraid. These people, the people who called themselves my “Christian family”, had Nicholas and his partner thrown out of our church without an apparent second thought. HM told me that Nicholas wasn’t a Christian, he was just someone who enjoyed the social life of being a member of a church, he liked the friends he made at church, so it was an act of Christian discipline to expel him and therefore it was right. (A couple of years later, I learnt that this simply wasn’t true, HM hadn’t been honest with me) Next the curate, at my church, preached a sermon supporting James Anderton’s homophobia and told me that anyone who was homosexual was condemned to hell for their “choice” to be homosexual. He made no distinction between the orientation and sexual activity, he condemned it all. I didn’t tell HM about this because I felt so betrayed; here was a minister of the church I attended, a man I looked up to, condemning me from the pulpit, and he didn’t even known it was me he was condemning. Then I was outed at church and quickly after that I had daemons cast out of me, for being gay, at the church’s youth fellowship. The betrayal of those actions cut deep within me. It didn’t stop there though. So many people in the youth fellowship told me they knew why I was gay; they all seemed to have a theory about my sexuality. I was told I was gay because I had a strong-willed mother, because I had a strong-willed father, because I was “confused” about my masculinity, because I was a woman “trapped” in a man’s body, because I was possessed by daemons, because the devil was sitting on my shoulder and whispering “lies” in my ear saying that I was gay, because I hadn’t met the “right” woman … and so many more theories, and none of them based on anything I had said. None of them reflected any element of me, but all of them showed how little those people knew me. At first all these different theories were almost comical, but soon they started to hurt. No one was offering me acceptance, instead I was seen as a “problem” that needed solving. But quickly people began to pull away from me, drop me and end our friendships because they knew I was gay. Almost overnight, it felt like I lost almost all my friends and was pushed to the very fringes of church life. That hurt so deeply. Now I was physically lonely as well as emotionally lonely. I turned to the only person I thought would help me. I went to see HM and told him about everything that was happening to me—the daemons being cast out of me, the list of theories as to why I was gay, and about losing almost all my friends. I expected HM to support me, to offer help and advice about what I should do next, to show he cared. I was wrong. HM started by saying that homosexuality can be caused by demonic possession. He then went on to tell me there was a lot of “truth” in all those theories people had about why I was gay. As I listened to him, it was as if scales fell away from my eyes and I saw HM for what he was. He wasn’t there to support me; he was justifying my church’s homophobia. He was doing that for the wider Evangelical Church too. He wasn’t there to challenge the Church’s homophobia; he was there to support the status quo by presenting the “acceptable” face of homosexuality to the Evangelical Church. He was a sad, sexless, gay man who was punishing himself with celibacy as the price to be allowed within the Evangelical Church, but never to be allowed to be a full member. He was so pathetic, it was horrible and repulsive to realise. And I had followed him. I made positive noises and said positive things in reply to what he said, but I didn’t believe a word of it. I just wanted to get out of that office as quickly as I could. I never went back to HM and TFT after that day; I knew they didn’t care about me. They cared about being the “acceptable” homosexuals for the Evangelical Church and they wanted to force me into that mould. They hadn’t cared about helping and supporting me, and I had desperately needed that. I wish I could say the hurt and damage stopped the day I walked away from them, but it didn’t because so often the damage doesn’t stop when the abuse does. POSTSCRIPT: At present, the British government has a proposal to ban conversion therapy, though there is still no date for when the bill will come before parliament. There are two exceptions in the proposal. It will not cover anyone over eighteen who consents to have conversion therapy and will not cover gender identify, so trans people at any age can be subjected to it. If this bill had been law in 1984 it wouldn’t have protected me because I was eighteen when I first went to TFT, and I went to them; therefore, I consented to it. Drew
Spring 1986 The carpet was patterned, a swirling blue-and-purple paisley pattern of looped tear-drop shapes curled around each other, and I stared down intensely at it. I thought if I focused on it then I could ignore what was happening around me, but that didn’t work. It was impossible to block it all out. I could feel the weight of all their hands pressing down on me, the weight of them on my head, the back of my neck and my shoulders. Those hands made me hold my head forwards, to stare down at the carpet under my feet, but that was also expected of me, to keep my head bowed. In a loud voice, Richard called out to God to cast the daemons out of me, the daemons of homosexuality, and therefore I would be healed, and be made normal, and be made straight. It was a Sunday evening and the Young People’s Fellowship had met inside my local Anglican church, shortly after the Evening Song service. It was run by two married couples, the clean-cut Richard and Elizabeth, and their growing number of children, and the round and comical Iain and Sadie, who always had the latest electronic gadget. The format each week would be a discussion on one topic or another, all of them relating to being a Christian. But there wasn’t that much discussion, often we would be told what we needed to believe by the group’s leaders. It was an Evangelical Anglican church so, no matter your questions or worries, someone would always have the right answer for you; someone would tell you what you had to do. That Sunday night I was suddenly the centre of attention, a place I didn’t like being in. I had told a few people there, a few people I thought I could trust, that I was struggling with my sexuality. I knew I was gay, but I didn’t want to be. I had grown up in that environment and knew how homophobic it was. I had breathed in that homophobia deep inside of me and I had believed its lies were true. My sexuality would only lead me to damnation, or so I believed back then. I believed it so much that I had secretly gone to an organisation called the True Freedom Trust, who told me, through prayer and therapy and God’s power, that I would turn straight (now it would be called conversion therapy). I believed what they said, I’d begged God each night to turn me straight and nothing had happened. This secret had all been too much for me to bear; I had to tell someone else, I had to find support. But I didn’t choose well. Those people I told went on to tell other people and suddenly the whole of the Young People’s Fellowship knew. That Sunday evening, they decided to cure me by exorcising the daemons from me, the daemons they said were causing me to be gay. The exorcism seemed to take forever. One person after another prayed out loud over me and I just stared down at the carpet under my feet. I tried to block it all out. I tried to concentrate on something else, anything else, but again and again that sense of betrayal washed over me. This was how these people saw me, as evil, as corrupt, as possessed by the devil, or by one of his daemons, all because I was gay, and not very gay at that. I was still a very naïve virgin then. I had not even kissed another man, not held another man’s hand. I had certainly never had sex with anyone. I’d had a few secret, painful and unrequited crushes on other men, but they had been my deep and shameful secret, I had told no one about them. I had turned to these people for help and this was the way they were treating me. They, the Young People’s Fellowship members, said we were all like family, and this was fostered by the group’s leaders. So many times, so many people had talked of us being like a family and how we could always rely upon one another. We were Christians; we could trust one another, we only wanted the best for one another. But when I needed them the most they turned around and tried to cast daemons out of me. I had wanted them, no, I had needed them to tell me that I was alright, that I was still wanted by them, that it didn’t make any difference, that I could still be one of them even if I was gay. Instead they turned around and said I was evil, possessed by daemons, and in need of exorcism. The betrayal was so great that it physically hurt. When they removed their hands from me, I knew it was all over, that I could finally pull back to the fringes of the group and hide myself away. Except I couldn’t. People kept coming up to me and telling me that I was “cured” now. People told me they knew why I was gay (so many different theories) and they knew how I could be “healed”. Elizabeth told me that God had told her I needed to keep going back to the True Freedom Trust because that would be the only way I was to be “healed”. I just nodded my head in agreement with her. I didn’t tell her that I was a total failure at turning straight; that the harder I begged God to turn me straight it only seemed to make my gay feeling feel stronger and more real. I knew she didn’t want to hear that. I left the Young People’s Fellowship meeting as soon as it ended. I didn’t stay for the coffee and chat; I couldn’t look anyone in the face. I felt so wretched inside. It was easy to slip away unnoticed. It was a cold and dark winter night outside, but that suited my mood, I deserved the cold and dark. When I reached home, I found that my mother was out, visiting a friend, and my father had been watching television. He was bubbling over with excitement about some program he had been watching. He chatted on about it, his words washing over me, but also not requiring me to speak. I didn’t have to tell him what had happened, nor was I able to. I’d been told, so often, that it was my parents’ fault that I was gay, and stupidly I had believed that lie. As I sat there, my father’s words filling the room, I knew I couldn’t go back to the Young People’s Fellowship; it wasn’t a safe place for me anymore. But they had said they were like my family and that church should be my whole life. Without them I didn’t know what I could do. I knew I couldn’t go back there, self-protection had finally kicked in, but I didn’t know where I was to go next or even what I should do. But I had to do something, I just didn’t know what. Drew
asamvav111 posted this depressing news item today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-25329065 India's top court has upheld a law which criminalises gay sex, in a ruling seen as a major blow to gay rights. The Supreme Court ruling reverses a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order which had decriminalised homosexual acts. The court said it was up to parliament to legislate on the issue. According to Section 377, a 153-year-old colonial-era law, a same-sex relationship is an "unnatural offence" and punishable by a 10-year jail term. Several political, social and religious groups had petitioned the Supreme Court to have the law reinstated in the wake of the 2009 court ruling. Correspondents say although the law has rarely - if ever - been used to prosecute anyone for consensual sex, it has often been used by the police to harass homosexuals. Also, in deeply conservative India, homosexuality is a taboo and many people still regard same-sex relationships as illegitimate. The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says some politicians have spoken out against the court decision - but many believe it is going to be difficult for them to take on the anti-gay lobby. A 153-year-old colonial law describes a same-sex relationship as an "unnatural offence" 'Black day' "It is up to parliament to legislate on this issue," Justice GS Singhvi, the head of the two-judge Supreme Court bench, said in Wednesday's ruling, which came on his last day before retiring. "The legislature must consider deleting this provision (Section 377) from law as per the recommendations of the attorney general," he added. India's Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters the government would respect the ruling but did not say whether there were plans to amend the law. Correspondents say any new legislation is unlikely soon - general elections are due next year. Gay rights activists have described Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling as "disappointing" and said they would approach the court to review its decision. "Such a decision was totally unexpected from the top court. It is a black day," Arvind Narrain, a lawyer for the Alternative Law Forum gay rights group, told reporters. "We are very angry about this regressive decision of the court," he said. "This decision is a body-blow to people's rights to equality, privacy and dignity," G Ananthapadmanabhan of Amnesty International India said in a statement. "It is hard not to feel let down by this judgement, which has taken India back several years in its commitment to protect basic rights," he added. However, the ruling has been welcomed by religious groups, particularly leaders of India's Muslim and Christian communities, who had challenged the Delhi High Court order. Many Many religious and political groups had opposed decriminalisation of gay sex "The Supreme Court has upheld the century-old traditions of India, the court is not suppressing any citizen, instead it is understanding the beliefs and values of the large majority of the country," Zafaryab Jilani, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, told BBC Hindi. In its 2009 ruling, the Delhi High Court had described Section 377 as discriminatory and said gay sex between consenting adults should not be treated as a crime. The ruling was widely and visibly welcomed by India's gay community, which said the judgement would help protect them from harassment and persecution. Analysis - by Geeta Pandey BBC News, Delhi The Supreme Court ruling has come as a huge surprise for activists who have described it as "retrograde" and say this is "a black day" for gay rights in India. They have campaigned for years for acceptance in India's deeply conservative society and many have vowed to carry on the fight for "their constitutional right". Nobody expected the Supreme Court, often seen as a last recourse for citizens faced with an unresponsive government, to reverse an order many had hailed as a landmark. As Justice GS Singhvi announced the order, activists and members of the gay and lesbian community present outside the court began crying and hugging each other. Some asked if after the court ruling, they had become criminals. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am deeply ashamed to say my country is to blame for imposing this terrible law under British Rule of India. This law has nothing to do with India's traditions but everything to do with Victorian obsessions about sex - a poisonous obsession that was exported across the World, and in many countries - including the US - this still prevails. This outdated, imposed and irrelevant law is as relevant to India as the court saying India should once again be a British colony. Ridiculous and very very sad. But we are seeing progress being turned back in an alarming number of countries: Russia, India, Nigeria - the list is deeply worrying. And at the root of it all seems to be religion. We need to remember that "progress" can be a two way street There is a real problem with words like "democracy" and also "terrorism" - these words are being used more and more to justify repressive measures against minorities. People often mistake democracy for the "will of the majority". But it isn't. At least not in a plural, healthy and culturally diverse society. Because "will of the majority" inevitably leads to tyranny of minorities. All of them. Because all societies have lots and lots and lots of minorities. And everyone falls into one or more minorities at some time or other. So next time "the majority" could be coming for "you". People need to be reminded of that
Twenty years ago today, on December 1, 1998, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved the addition of sexual orientation to the county’s human rights ordinance. The battle many had fought over the past year culminated in victory. A temporary achievement since the hateful Christian Coalition worked to place the decision on the ballot the following year. They lost. For over a year, I helped increase awareness, raise money, conduct outreach, lobby politicians, debate homophobes, and granted countless interviews to the media. I was called vile names by those professing their Christianity often enough my dislike for the religion became permanent. To this day, any mention of Christian values makes me frown. On that fateful morning, my boyfriend and I awoke in darkness and were in front of the Commission chambers by sunrise. With hateful chants as background, I spoke to National Public Radio, The New York Times, the Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, and who knows how many more outlets in both English and Spanish. My fifteen minutes of fame thanks to the marketing people thinking I spoke well and came across as a level-headed individual. Ha! Seeing my name on the front page of the Times and listening to the NPR report the following morning was a thrill. I still have the newspaper and a cassette of the radio show. However, the most wonderful part of the experience was working with the men and women who made the day’s events possible. Maybe it was not on par with the promise made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor,” but to me it was close. The time and financial commitment made by many propelled us to victory. Liebe Gadinsky stands out amongst all. The mother of two and her husband became friends, and although we rarely communicate these days, I will treasure the time I spent with them for as long as I live. Liebe and Seth were proof that the fight for our humanity was not limited to GLBT community members, but encompassed caring individuals who felt discrimination was unjust. Many of you dislike and dismiss political involvement, I read the comments often enough when I posted a story revolving around a presidential campaign. As an aside, my involvement back then influenced much of what I wrote in that book. I would like you all to remember that without drag queens fighting in front of the Stonewall Inn in 1969 or volunteers canvassing throughout Miami in 1998, most of us would be hiding in the back of a closet too scared to live. Go out, give money, volunteer, make phone calls, write letters; do whatever it takes to elect individuals who will not treat us as second-class citizens. It was the experience of a lifetime and I am grateful I was part of such a momentous event. My participation also allowed me to keep a promise I made when the Anita Bryant-backed forces led to the overturn of a similar ordinance in 1977. I swore that if the issue arose again, I would not remain quiet. I am glad I did not. I’ll close with Margaret Mead’s words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has” https://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/02/us/2-decades-on-miami-endorses-gay-rights.html
I just want to take a moment to remember Pierre Bergé, who died yesterday with 86 years old. Once partner of Yes Saint Laurent and with him founder of YSL House, he was also a strong advocate of gay rights, marriage equality, the fight against HIV in France.