If you step back and think about it, it's kind of amazing to consider how far we've come, how fast—how, two decades ago, gay sex was illegal in many states, gays weren't allowed in the military and were generally dismissed as perverts, the gay-rights debate was framed not in terms of civil rights but "special rights," and marriage equality was but a pipe dream.
It was just two years and three months ago that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and fifteen months ago that the court made marriage equality the law of the land. But this last year demonstrated that there's still work to be done. So-called "religious freedom" laws—essentially, laws that legitimize discrimination against LGBTQ folks, so long as it's under the auspices of religious conviction—have become all the rage among social conservatives. In many places around the country—and in all of North Carolina—gays and lesbians can still be fired simply for being gay or lesbian. Gays, specifically Latino gays, were massacred by a gunman in Orlando in June. And, earlier this year, North Carolina's legislature rammed through HB 2, which set its sights squarely on the transgender community.
And so, with Pride upon us, we wanted to take broader a look at both the victories and the challenges facing the LGBTQ community. Inside you'll find a revealing Q-and-A with Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the gay marriage case; explorations of what it means to be trans in the HB 2 era and where the LGBTQ community is going after Pulse; and a look into the urgent politics of the moment.
The arc of the moral universe has bent toward justice, no denying that. But progress requires perpetual diligence. And as much of a celebration as Pride is and should be, we should never lose sight of that.