Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I just have to say, this day is quietly amazing

Just think -- back when I was of the age to join the military, you couldn't get a security clearance if you were gay and you were likely to lose any ordinary job if you were outed. My friend Robert Belanger was the second president of the Mattachine Society, which means "mask," which was on of the earliest gay rights groups (I don't think they even had the word, they were still homosexuals) in the U.S. and which operated, our of necessity, in complete secrecy. Homosexual activity was illegal in most places and the police went out of their way to enforce the law. Obviously homosexuals were excluded from the military and it would have occurred to approximately nobody that there was something wrong with that. Just ten years ago, the horrific threat that homosexuals might get married or be allowed to serve in the military was enough to destroy Democratic chances in elections throughout the country.

Today, by law, passed by the Congress, discrimination against homosexuals in military service is illegal. If that isn't sufficiently astonishing, this has occurred with no more notice than a change in the tolls on I-93. The CNN web site right now doesn't even have a mention of it until you go 3/4 of the way down the page to a tiny text link between "Which rock killed the dinosaurs?" and "Fracking: Drilling jobs not worth it." The MSNBC front page has no mention of it whatsoever. Your local Republican member of congress is busy accusing the president of class warfare and Bill O'Reilly is threatening to stop working altogether if he doesn't get to keep at least 80% of his marginal income above $1 million, but as far as they're concerned, this just isn't happening.

It's just a normal day. Except, of course, for the people who suddenly, just like that, with no fuss at all, can lay full claim to their true identities. Wow. Just Wow.

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