That New England leads the nation and even the world in LGBT issues is common knowledge. We have a fairly well-rehearsed litany of accomplishments:
- First in the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples (Massachusetts)
- First and second openly gay people in Congress (Representatives from Massachusetts)
- Gerry Studds and Barney Frank, who sadly just announced his retirement)
- First openly gay person elected to a state legislature (Elaine Noble in Massachusetts)
- First in legal recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples (Vermont)
- First openly gay Bishop in Christendom, Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson (New Hampshire)
- The nation’s largest LGBT rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign, has been headed by Massachusetts-native Joe Solmonese for the past seven years.
And that’s just off the top of my head.
As we celebrate the legal and social justice victories, a sense is growing that all of us — queer, lesbian, gay, straight, heterosexual, transgender, bisexual, or whatever term of identity a person desires to employ — are moving into what just ten or twenty years ago would have seemed like a pipe dream — a state of normalcy, where LGBT people live with each other, their children, friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors in what could be termed a perpetual rainbow environment.
Yes, we await gay marriage in Rhode Island and Maine, and legal gender identity protections in New Hampshire, but overall, LGBT activists have achieved most of our legal goals in New England.
Well, there's business, sports, arts, culture, travel, lifestyle, and, golly, just about everything else that everyone lives with. The only difference is that LGBT people bring a uniquely, well, LGBT sensibility to each of these areas. It’s much easier to define legal distinctions around identity. But when it comes to issues of life, well, how is a person to determine if something is queer or not? Sometimes it's simply that its an LGB, or T person who is doing it. Sometimes it's as simple as we know it when we see it.
Consider that one of President Obama's top go-to guys for event planning, including state dinners, is local out impresario Bryan Rafanelli, who also staged Chelsea Clinton’s wedding a couple years back. Consider that New England LGBT sports teams have been bringing home gold medals from Gay Games for years now — soccer, hockey, swimming. Consider that the local LGBT business group, the Greater Boston Business Council (GBBC), boasts one of the nation's largest LGBT chambers of commerce. We are — as they say — here, queer, and everywhere.
So what's it like living in this LGBT nirvana? This blog points the way. Watch here for updates on events you won’t want to miss. Keep yourself up-to-speed with informed commentary on breaking LGBT news. Discover at this site top party planning tips and fashion advice. Click back often to find out what some of the local LGBT personalities are up to.
We start by referring to Barney Frank's departure from Congress. What will happen to LGBT political leadership in the wake of his absence? Presciently, Boston Spirit magazine featured an article on that very subject a few short months ago. Read about it here.
Watch for a post in a few of days about how to plan the perfect holiday party. With advice courtesy of Bryan Rafanelli, and his friends, celebrity chef of Clio Ken Oringer and local out style guru Ricardo Rodriguez.
Keep checking back, we will be posting regularly, reviewing recent events and pointing to key events to watch for in the near future.
We'll be watching as Maine takes up a bid for marriage equality again, and looking to see that New Hampshire keeps its marriage law intact, even as we feature thoughts for travel to Provincetown, Ogunquit, Northampton, and beyond.
We’re here, we’re queer, and now, we’re on Boston.com!
[James A. Lopata]
The author is solely responsible for the content.