Introducing STAND’s LGBTQ Bloggers – Louise Walpin & Marsha Shapiro
We (Marsha and I) are no strangers to activism; we fought long and hard, both in the legislature and as plaintiffs in the Lambda Legal suit, for marriage equality in New Jersey. For that reason, we expected this first blog entry to be light and fun: An intro to our journey as “accidental activists.” Given the events of the last week, however, we felt that such an entry would fail to reflect the depth of our feelings. Therefore, unfortunately, we will save the “light” blog for another time.
We read many commentaries on the Joint Congressional Address this past week. Not one spoke of a fact that infuriated us. For the first time in 8 years, a major Presidential address neglected to specifically mention the LGBTQ community. This omission spoke volumes regarding intent. As AIDS activists in the Reagan area said: Silence=Death. Why is it that, to the best of our knowledge, none of the pundits mentioned this? Is our community that easy to forget?
Then over the weekend, we learned that that Garden State Equality’s (GSE) main headquarters had been the target of a hate crime. Their glass door was broken at the exact spot where the rainbow flag, symbol of LGBTQ pride and diversity, was affixed. This is all too reminiscent of Kristallnacht: the Nazi pogrom in which windows of Jewish-owned businesses, homes and synagogues were broken. GSE represents the NJ LGBTQ community. (It’s the leading advocacy organization and works tirelessly to ensure that this state’s LGBTQ citizens are protected.) Thus, symbolically, by breaking the entrance to their main office, all in our community have been violated.
Marsha and I experienced both Trump’s omission of our community and this bias attack on a very visceral level, but to paraphrase the name of the TV documentary on Cleve Jones’ life: “We will rise.” The current administration may want to make us invisible and reverse the progress that has been made, but they will soon find out that we will not fade quietly into the night. As our brothers and sisters did in at Stonewall in 1969 , we will fight back. With our allies at our side, we will triumph.