In no small measure, the struggle of LGBT individuals to gain basic rights and acceptance in society is of historic and global importance.
The fight for our human rights has involved countless people and cultures from around the world. It has involved brave women and men who have pushed back against centuries of persecution. And so, it is with enormous pride that we can celebrate today the fact that we have made breakthroughs that are putting behind us years of shame, suppression and secrecy.
It’s important that we pay recognition to key events in LGBT history. One of those occasions is the Stonewall Riot, which is perhaps the cradle of the modern LGBT-rights movement. But in the five decades since those uprisings, there have been many other milestones in the fight for human rights and equality, and some setbacks too.
Despite the gains that have been made, I feel, personally, there remains a tinge of repression in this country. And yet, even in this atmosphere of hostility, I find it refreshing to know of people and organizations that are working hard to make a positive difference in the lives of others, which is why I’m proud to be a volunteer with AARP in Dallas-Fort Worth.
AARP has a strong working relationship with many local, state and national partners. In Dallas, where I reside, they also have a capable corps of volunteers and staff, including Melodía Gutiérrez, who is a tireless ally and true friend to those of us striving to raise up this community.
In April, under Melodía’s guidance and AARP’s support, Ed-U-Care Inc., on whose board I serve, produced a world-class fashion show that was conceived and executed by my husband. For the event, he brought together major fashion influencers. Photographer and author, Ari Seth Cohen, known for being the creator of the “Advanced Style” blog and internationally recognized senior fashion diva, Valerie Von Sobel, were among the guests.
My heart is warmed by the efforts of AARP and other supporters. I feel confident that all of us can embrace the history of the LGBT movement and work, in our own ways, in these important times, and remain engaged to make difference.
Written By: Gary Bellomy, AARP Texas Lead Volunteer