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July 24, 2009
by Davey Wavey
48 Comments



To the generations before me: Thank you.

Though I’m from the United States, I’ve been enjoying my summer north of the border in Canada. In many ways, the United States and Canada are similar. Walking down the street and observing the culture, you could mistake Toronto for a more diverse version of Chicago, New York or San Francisco.

But beneath the surface, Canada is quite different. For one, same-sex marriage has been recognized nationwide since 2005.

Back in the states, marriage equality is only present in a handful of states – and none of those same-sex marriages are recognized at the federal level. But there is momentum and movement, and progress is being made. Though that progress often feels slow, in the larger context of human history, things have changed fairly quickly.

In 1969 – a mere 14 years before I was born – a group of queer folk, drag queens and homeless youth fought back against a system that persecuted sexual minorities. Protests and riots ensued, and the movement for queer equality was officially born.

Walking down Toronto’s uber-gay Church Street, and seeing men openly embracing men and women cuddling women, it’s easy to forget that only 40 years have passed. And it’s equally easy to forget that our progress has come on the backs, sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears of the generations before us.

Some of us may not feel a strong connection to the gay community. And that is fine. But all of us are indebted to the tireless men and women that have made our journeys easier.

For all of you that have ever marched, written letters, lobbied your representatives, protested or taken a stand for love, I thank you. I am grateful.

48 Comments

  1. Too often we forget to say thanks.

    I’m going to write something similar when I get home tonight.

  2. This is great! As one of those you’re addressing (activist for 30+ years) it’s truly appreciated. Thank you back :>

  3. I hope there’s a similar story that had happened in my country, the Philippines. :-)

  4. i love living canada. <3
    im soo lucky.

  5. I prefer it when you do your posts in the morning Davey. Puts me in the right frame of mind for the day! Thank you!

    • i agree :D , give me something to think about during the whole day
      :P loll
      have a nice day everyone :D (L)

  6. ….Thank You!

  7. …And the young kangaroo in her pouch said “Me Too!”

  8. And thanks to you, Davey for reminding us to be thankful of those who blazed the trail.

  9. getting better all the time!!!! share the experience of the streets of Toronto if you take request. ~Tom

  10. I’m so happy you made talked about this. I’ve known I was gay since I was 14 but until a year ago I never stopped to think about my elders. I was reading a book about gay relationships and I read things I never knew about gay history and was shocked. I want to learn more. It’s something I think every homosexual should learn about because how can we appreciate where we are today without knowing who got us here? I wish I had an older gay man or woman to ask questions and most importantly, to thank him or her. Ahh! I’m only 19 so I want to thank all the activists before me! Thank you so much! I want to work hard with you too! 1st step, get over my own issues! 2nd, enlighten my family!

  11. Judy Garland had just died. That upset a lot of gays in that bar 40 years ago. Cops raided it and became outrageous. The same thing happened in a Texas bar recently. Where were the riots then? The outrageous sentence that cop got who murdered the Mayor of San Francisco sparked a riot. I was stoped by a hysterical man when I tried to enter the parking lot of the DMV in Long Beach. The verdict was in, They made good on their promise. The very minute the verdict was annouced the DMV was set ablaze. I was told to avoid a freeway it was going to be shut down. I said “you seriously don’t believe those cops are going to walk?” “You haven’t been following the trial”, he said. “It’s going to be 1965 all over again.” Sure enough it was in 1992. Will we ever learn? Hard to think pretty thoughts when you dreged up that foul memory. To all the young gays–Life was one big mirrored Disco Ball of fun and people only blew rubbers into boloons. Then many years later friends started to die before their parents. Some of us took out life insurance policies and cashed out because AIDS=death. Now those awful greedy people who bought all those polices (viatical settlements) are left holding the bag. Thank you protese inhibitors.

  12. I thank you generations before us!

  13. …indeed, Thank You!!!

  14. Yes, I agree. I too am grateful to those people who fought for equality against the odds. A very big THANK YOU to you, and to the gay community today too. Even though I don’t really get involved in the community I am still supportive of you all.

  15. Thank you to the Generations of LOVE!

  16. I must say that I too am grateful. My thanks to everyone who has represented what has always been natural and equal.

    Much love!

    Ciao!

  17. I do really THANK to ALL warriors, zealot, and generations before us with their selfless-contributions, whilst thanks to you for awakening people like us, how grateful we should be, viva we’re!!

  18. i too, Davey am Thankful to you and All those gone-before us, as well as those still living. ___davvi

  19. Dave, very well said.
    Regular people pushed into extraordinary action. The all deserve our acknowledgment and respect and our thanks.

  20. Davey, from a baby boomer who was marching before you were born, you are welcome- keep up the fight.

  21. Popularity 3%. History is not a hot topic.

  22. It’s just a pity that Toronto is such a Dog of a town- totally boring and about as friendly as a grizzly bear in heat. Montreal, Quebec and Vancouver are so much nicer. “More diverse than New york, Chicago or san San francisco????? Are you on drugs dear?????? The place is a fuckin dump! Makes you want to race to Niagara Falls and jump off. Without your floaties!
    Canada is truly amazing – but Toronto is just like some mid-west american city- Gross, Tacky beyond belief and about as much soul as Wayne Newton.

    • I have loved Toronto at times. But looking at it now I marvel at its ugliness. Really a seriously ugly place. Mostly clean and well swept ( garbage strike notwithstanding ) but with no discernible design. Ruefully behind in updating its once heralded public transit system. Toronto wants so much to be “world class”, but one just cringes whenever some pundit, promoter or politician utters that over worn phrase. Toronto is provincial even if at times it has looked hopeful and full of promise. One has only to venture to any truly “world class” place to see where Toronto really stands. I once described Toronto to a British friend, he ever careful to say how much he liked Toronto to save my/our feelings. As we drove along, both looking out the window of my car at Dundas and Bay having just come from Roy Thompson Hall where he was conducting, I said, “Well, Toronto is somewhat overrated at least by its inhabitants. To me Toronto is like a big dry fart. Lots of buildup with no pay-off.” At which point I saw a distinct relief come across his face as I must have said what he had been thinking for some time.
      I am glad of Canada’s laws regarding same sex union and of the Church Street neighbourhood and its open and welcoming embrace of something other than the usual, but boy does it need a makeover.

  23. Thanks for your awesome reflections. Gratitude is so often forgotten. The struggle goes on, however. We are far from equal in the USA, but moreso in Canada. Congratulations to our more civilized northern friends on demonstrating the ideals the USA talks about but does poorly at living out.

  24. Canada is Asian these days.
    Men have held hands in India for years
    without any sexual overtones.
    I think it is healthy.
    I believe that homosexuality has only
    recently been legalised in India…
    Which is better = a society where men xcan be affectionate to each other in a nice way….
    or a society where having gay sex is legal but people on the scene allow almost no place for love?
    It’s almost a dirty word for some gay activists.

  25. a wise young man indeed…….

  26. And Thanks back at ya, Davey Wavey!

    Today my Love of the last 8 years and I are getting married!

    Here in Canada we can…Yes we can!

    So to add to the celebration, your thanks for past years of marching and protesting and working hard to have equal rights for LGBT people, we are heartened to find younger brothers like you still working just as hard to pass the torch to yet another generation.

    This will be a totally a non denominational marriage celebration. One of our guest was the first same-sex couple to be married here in Quebec. Another couple were married last year. They will pass the torch to us.

    We look forward to passing the torch to others as well.

    With Pride and Joy for our shared love, we wish you all Peace Happiness and Joy,

    Be well

  27. As someone who did their bit to get the law changed (in Britain) I suppose I should be grateful that you are grateful, but in a curious way I’m not entirely sure I am.
    In my early 20s I worked for some time for the Homosexual Law Reform Society (gay was invented then) and perhaps our approach was Oh so British! But with quiet lobbying, lecturing and information, and the aid of liberal MP Leo Abse, we got the law changed.
    As I recall, no buildings got burned down, nobody got killed or injured, nobody took to the streets half naked.
    When I stop and look at how the so-called gay community has since evolved, I ask myself did I really help start all this?
    But thanks for the sentiment, Davey, it is genuinely appreciated. Peter-D.

    • It is so refreshing to hear someone say that.
      Young people need a far better example of how
      they can live their lives.
      You hear some middle aged gays saying that
      monogamy is not possible for gay men.
      What a strange belief is in equality that is.
      We need to steer youngsters away from
      drugs and the extremes of the hedonist life.
      The word Gay life style should be erased,
      The whole point of Gay Liberation was to
      empower people to be able to be an equal
      part of the community – to have a
      place within it.
      It may be romantic to hold on to an age of
      flower power when being gay was to a vibrant part
      of a sub culture but the idea is flawed as
      times have moved on.
      The National Association for the Advancement
      of Coloured People had the good sense to change
      their approach with the changing social atmosphere.
      They recognised that it would be churlish to not
      recognise taht significant progress had been
      made and many of their demands had been met.
      So they took what I would say is a more
      a more adult approach.
      Now there are highly successful and respected
      black people in power. (Not just Obamma).
      Yet in places the Gay seems seems stuck
      and desire to remain children.
      It is understandable. that some gay people
      want to enjoy a youth that was not there when they
      were young. But to try to make youth last past its
      time is to miss out on everything else that life
      can teach us and we can enjoy.

      The community for Gay people is the one they live in
      and feel comfortable being a part of/
      BUT
      We need to focus on things like care for house bound
      or elderly gay people now.
      We need to think how we can reduce the suffering of
      Gay people in danger or less fortunate circumstances
      around the world.
      In that sense we can become a true community.
      The real test of the quality of a community
      is how it behaves towards its most vulnerable
      members. We need to focus less on sex and more on caring.

    • Good, insightful speech.
      So agree with you on the “gay lifestyle” point.
      It seems that some cultures are very prone to setting labels on people, and people thence tend to want to follow everything that label includes.

      Being obsessed with looks is a male trait worldwide, except in our patriarchal societies, men were not traditionally the object of this obsession. With many of our parents, it fell upon women to be worried about their looks and youth to be considered eligible, and it fell upon the men to be the providers/protecters/commanders, etc. Women found (find) powerful men attractive, and men found(find) pretty/young/submissive women attractive. No wonder that the modern gay man, a product of this social construction, is now obsessed and torn between both roles, hunter and prey. He has to be both a socially powerful man as well as a sexually attractive boy toy.

      Except gay people don’t get married. Gay relations are furtive. Gay people learned to take advantage of the “now”, because everything is secret and condemned by everyone else. Most feel their relationships are not as “bound” as straight married people’s are. Nothing is written in stone. Partners come and go. That is why it is important to stay young and pretty, to be able to “stay in the game”…so as not to wind up alone…

      So, focusing so much on the individual does not leave much space for altruistic thinking, and this is detrimental to the consolidation and empowerment of the gay community.

  28. Yes thanks to everyone who ever fighted (or fights right now or will fight in future) for the rights of every gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersexual man/woman…

  29. this means so much to me.the last line about activists-like me who have marched-wrote letters-advocated our elected officials-have gone on lobby trips to my state capitol-have been to D.C.that means a lot.so much progress has been made-but so much more has to be set straight.never take for granted the immense progressive strides Made in Canada.a prime example of what a civilised society should be.yes-i am that activist-thank you so so much-hugs and thank you.youve made my day so much better.

  30. I’m gay and know I was born that way. I REALLY wish I was not gay and have tried as hard as possible to keep my gayness in the closet, although many in my world know ‘assume’the truth. I wear two Purple Hearts from defending my country in a long ago war. But I will die someday alone known but to my God as He made me.

  31. As a Minister that has performed many same-sex unions or Affirmations I think it is about time for the world to wake up and leave this alone, make it legal world wide and let love be.
    No one chooses to be gay, it is what it is. Like the color of your skin or the way you smile. We are born this way, it takes time to develope or shine through.
    Love is love.
    Let it shine through and let people make thier own choices as to whom they desire and need to be with.
    Who has the right to make the choice for anyone else. No one should have that power or right.
    Many struggles on this matter, many more to come, but as you stated, it has only been 40 years and Rome was not built in a day. It was destroyed in less time. We have to and need to be very careful how this is fought and represented to the country. Careful exposure and lessons are to be tought to the rest. It will be, all in good time.
    God made us all, the way we are.
    He knows what is best, it must be right, or it would not be.
    Gay is not a curse.
    Hate is, it is also a nasty sin.
    Love is a beautiful thing, world wake up and stop making it seem wrong, sinful and filthy.
    It is not.

  32. You’re welcome, I’m just happy to have survived to see the day.

  33. I wish I could live in Canada…

  34. Two comments. To Brennan, NOBODY is stopping you from moving to Canada. See how long you survive on their government medical care. YUK!! You have no idea how lucky you are being in the USA. Say a prayer you are here.
    Secondly, to Gregory Pischea, 7/25, thank you for serving our country with such dignity. I am also a vet, in the closet during my service. Greg, drop me a note. seanmagic1964@yahoo.com

  35. Ive been to Canada a few times. I love it :) It seems like such a relaxing place compared to the United States.

  36. I was one of them, way back then in the late sixties and early seventies, in The Netherlands. Hundreds of us stood on the barricades, in theory ánd in real life. We we more than willing to go to “normal” discotheques in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, mingle with the straight crowd and then go onto the dance floor and dance m/m and f/f. In most cases we were thrown out the place by them doormen using wooden and iron batons. I got physically wounded, too. But we DID it.
    The sixties were about to come to an end and the fight against prejudice, bigotry, homophobia, women abuse, you name it, continued into th seventies.

    Thanks to the internet, the young folks today can communicate with each other from their Day 1, so to speak. I can’t deny that I feel a little bit of envy here… but those were the days ad this is NOW.
    Having turned 60 earlier this year, having barely survived the aids epidemic, I praise myself lucky still being alive, being relatively healthy and happy.
    Last year I embarked on my third coming out. My first one – as a gay man – was in 1969. My second one was in 1994, being disgnosed with aids. And now I made my third coming out: building bridges between the baby boom generation of gay and bi people and the (sometimes very) young gay people of today. So far it has been very, very rewarding and it makes my liofe more than worthwhile. I glow… and I can beam it off to so many others. That’s what life is all about, says lil ole me, the older and hopefully wiser guy!

  37. Having discovered all those fantastic (video)blogs on the internet, I just might start one myself in the months to come… why not? I’ve got a lot to tell and a lot to share with all of you, out there! Just wait and see…

  38. Thank you for your encouragement, Carlos!
    Like I said, the old cat is still alive, and may scratch and scribble in the near future.
    Many thanks of course go to Davey, whose journal (I won’t call it blog anymore, ha!) is very inspirational to me.
    I’m curious whether Davey may give his valued vision on my “60 is the new 35″…

  39. Gregory:
    I had no idea! Was looking for you when I took ‘A Marine’s Prayer’ off the fridge and tried to look you up. We were stationed together @ NAS Glenview with VMGR-234 and MACG-48 under Top Dicandia.
    Rev

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