Marriage equality in 11 states, the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and more gay male characters on TV are all milestones for the LGBT community, but for moms like Jennifer Tyrrell and so many other Americans in the LGBT community, the so-called culture war is far from over.
On Tuesday, news broke that a gay couple was attacked near Madison Square Garden in New York by four men emerging from a Knicks playoff game. Nick Porto, who was left with a broken nose after the four men attacked him and his partner, said, "I've never had a feeling like this before in the city. I didn't know that it's not over, that this sort of stuff still happens. They called us faggots ... I was so naive to think that things were better here."
Last week, a transgender woman who was murdered in Cleveland was described by the highest-circulation newspaper in Ohio as an "oddly dressed" criminal. Her body was referred to as "it." Never once did the newspaper refer to Ce Ce as female, despite AP style instructing media to do so.
There is work still to do when gay people can be fired in 29 states, transgender Americans face disproportionate rates of violence and dehumanizing media coverage, and there are still doubts that comprehensive immigration reform would protect all immigrants equally. One gay male athlete from a major league and one gay male boxer have come out -- and these two, out of thousands of professional athletes, lead some to suggest that we've "won" the culture war?
Now is not the time to declare victory but to push harder than ever.
It's true that LGBT people have made great strides in the past few years. Our positive movement on marriage equality is unprecedented. But there's still just a slight majority of Americans who agree with the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. We might never get to 100 percent, but we definitely want more than half of our neighbors to welcome our families. We have the wind at our backs and momentum on our side, but momentum and wind alone can only carry change so far.
Twenty-eight years after GLAAD began as an organization fighting anti-gay defamation in the media, we continue making change by working through the media to share the stories that are the catalysts for change. Together with Tyrrell, GLAAD embarked on campaign to end the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in the Boy Scouts. The advocacy efforts have included countless scouts speaking out, elected officials and celebrities calling for an end to the ban, and corporate sponsors cutting their funding of the BSA until the ban ends. Millions also got to meet a beautiful Ohio family headed by two moms. Jennifer Tyrrell was named to Parenting's "Best Parents of 2012," and for the first time in its 100-year history, the Boy Scouts of America will vote on whether or not to end their ban at the end of May.