John R Selig

Writer. Photographer. Podcaster. Outspoken.

I am Tired of Fighting for Gay Rights

Originally Heard on the John Selig Outspoken Podcast

John Selig Outspoken – Episode 18

I am tired of fighting for gay rights! Since coming I have constantly spoken to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and even complete strangers about the challenges faced by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. I have shared horror stories about homeless gay youth and kids attempting suicide because of not being able to handle the pressure put upon them by family that ostracize them for being gay. I have railed against outrageous lies and hate speech perpetrated against us by the religious and conservative right as a means to instill fear, raise huge quantities of cash and consolidate power. I have pointed out unfair labor practices that gays have no protection against, the rights that my husband, Rodolfo, and I don’t have because our marriage legally performed in Canada, isn’t recognized by the governments of Texas and the United States.

I am tired of writing letters to the editor and op–ed columns for newspapers, sending emails to elected officials and corporations and making phone calls to the local, state and federal politicians that supposedly represent me. I am tired of spending many hours each week staying current on issues that impact my life and those of my LGBT brothers and sisters. I am tired of the hurt! I am tired of the pain! I am tired of the fight!

However, I am even more tired of the people in our community who are not engaged in the fight, who are content to be coasting on the blood, sweat and tears of the many people, that are fighting for their rights! I am even more tired of the members of our community who vote for our political foes! How 25% of gays could have voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 will forever both baffle and disgust me!

I would much rather spend time reading novels and books on history and art and foreign lands. I would rather watch more movies both at the cinema and on TV. I would rather do more photography, which I have loved since I bought my first 35mm camera in 1970. I would much rather better master Adobe Photoshop and finally start the Rosetta Stone Introductory Spanish course that has been sitting on the shelf for at least 3 years now so that I could be better able to converse better with my Rodolfo’s extended family in Mexico when we make a trip to visit them. I would much rather spend more time curled up on the sofa with Rodolfo watching Sci–Fi, HGTV, Food Network, the Travel Channel, theHistory channel and a few select series on broadcast TV. I am tired of fighting for gay rights!

But what choice do I have? Since coming out I have been blown away by the many heroes that I have met in our community. My photography, writing, activism, big mouth and now, the “John Selig Outspoken” podcast, have enabled me to meet the most amazing collection of role models that I could ever imagine.

Never in my wildest expectations could I have ever anticipated that I would become a gay activist. My training at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where I obtained my MBA in 1977 trained me for a career in corporate America. It trained me to believe the greatness of multi–national corporations and the corruption of big government. My life experiences, however, taught me about the corruption of big business, the hate instead of love that emanates from far too much of organized religion and the importance of government that is truly, but not often enough, for the people!

Though I am currently unemployed and looking for work in marketing and advertising, my heart still lies in the continued fight for gay rights even though I am tired of the fight.

Since beginning “John Selig Outspoken” less than three months ago I have been empowered by the stories that I have heard from the LGBT families such as Ken Manford, Jeffrey Roach and their son, Jackson, represented by Family Pride, by the young people served by Bob Miskinis and Youth First Texas, by the scholars such as Joelle Ruby Ryan, whose education has been made possible by the Point Foundation under the leadership of Jorge Valencia, by the positive media coverage obtained by Cathy McElrath Renna, first while National Media Director at GLAAD and now for her clients as a managing partner at Renna Communications.

I am humbled by Skip Allen’s amazing story and my tiredness is dwarfed by the challenges that Skip and his family faced over the past twenty–five years. I am awed by the commitment to our community by Paul Scott of Equality Texas and Kevin Cathcart of Lambda Legal, and the leadership in the struggle for same–sex marriage by Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, by the support of so many in pain by Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton and the Straight Spouse Network, by Wayne Besen dedicating his life to taking on the Ex–Gay movement, by the empowerment that Honey Ward provides to participants in the Experience Workshop.

I am indebted to Justice Harvey Brownstone for marrying Rodolfo and myself in Toronto, Canada on April 17th 2004 that changed my life forever even if our marriage isn’t yet recognized where we live.

I remain informed because of the commitment of Robert Moore and Tammye Nash and so many others at the “Dallas Voice” and all the other LGBT media providers in our community around the country. I am encouraged by the work of Charles Flowers, the Lambda Literary Foundation and the many LGBT writers … that just maybe we’ll have a written legacy that will able to be left for the next generation.

My intellect is stimulated through the poetry of Bob McCrainie and both the literature, non–fiction and constant encouragement of my cherished friend Patricia Nell Warren. The endless stories of people that I meet push me to continue on even though I am tired of fighting for gay rights!

I am so lucky to be given the opportunity to produce John Selig Outspoken. It is a lot of work but a labor of love. You have no idea how much time it takes to produce each episode. However, the energy and motivation to continue the fight that I receive from the people that I interview is immeasurable. My goal is for you to share that energy and, far more importantly, for you to continue the fight for our rights. Although I am tired of fighting for gay rights, I don’t have the luxury of stopping; and so my friends, neither do you!

© 2007 John R. Selig. All rights reserved.