Friday, August 28, 2009

Farewell, Advocate

I'm not generally one to glorify people after they have died. I think that we have this odd tendency to deify famous deceased human beings. Besides, if I had my way, we would all show more appreciation for each other when we're here, as opposed to when we're not.

Senator Ted Kennedy was a flawed human being. He was a privileged white man with a well-known family name who battled his own personal demons, including implications in a possibly DUI-related death of a woman and the smear of woman who accused his relative of rape.

I wonder if I would have even liked him very much had I known him.


The Obama Administration should take note that Senator Kennedy was a "fierce advocate" for the LGBT community, doing so much more than talking a big talk. He was an advocate for those living with HIV/AIDS at a time when many were consumed by fear and homo-baiting. He was a sponsor of hate crimes legislation that included sexual orientation and gender identity. He supported equal immigration rights for LGBT couples. He supported marriage equality. And, he opposed the ban on gays in the military and a host of other anti-LGBT measures designed to drive "a wedge between one group of citizens and the rest of the country, solely for partisan advantage."

Near and dear to my heart, Senator Kennedy was a key supporter of Title IX, the federal law that granted women equal opportunities in athletics. He continually supported the law through all of the attacks, backlash, and accusations that it was Ruining Real (ie, Men's) Sports.

There aren't many politicians in our nation who I feel are true advocates who support the interests, not of themselves and their political aspirations, but of Others. Senator Kennedy was a privileged white man from the East coast who didn't have to care about equality for people like me. But he did anyway.

For that, I thank him.

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