After the conclusion of the Democratic Convention last month some friends of mine were bemoaning the failure of the party’s platform to call for same-sex marriage. Their response was coupled with an “I want change and want it NOW!” attitude and, sadly, a lack of willingness to listen to reason.

We live in what I like to call a “Microwave Society” — one in which everything is either instant or fast. Instant news, instant messaging, instant credit allowing for instant purchases instead of saving for a while and paying cash (leading of course to instant debt).

The cost of convenience has been our patience.

We have become so conditioned to instant gratification that we have lost sight of the way things actually happen. I think we need to take a step back and look at how long it has taken us to get to where we are now.

During the Convention we were reminded that in the U.S. women have only had the right to vote for a mere 88 years. This did not happen overnight — it took 72 years from the Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls and 144 years from when this nation was founded. Those who fought this battle did so recognizing that while they might not reap the benefits, their daughters or even granddaughters could. Some lost their families, their homes, their freedom and, yes, their lives. Just for us.

The members of the LGBT community must adopt this same mindset and while we fight for ourselves we must also fight even harder for those who will follow.

Too many members of the LGBT community take it for granted that they can live openly. We are no longer arrested or committed to a mental health facility — all of which happened not that long ago.

If you have not seen the documentary “Last Call at Maud’s,” I urge you to. This film, and others like it, will give you a good idea at how our sisters and brothers were treated in the pre-Stonewall years.

Look at what is happening today in places like Iran, Jamaica and even here in America — people are dying!

Yes, I want marriage, but I think that we need equality first.

I want to be able to go to work without the fear of being fired because I am a lesbian. I want to be able to be by my partner’s side if she is in the hospital — or her by mine. I want members of the LGBT community to be able to serve openly in the military.

Equality will only be achieved by our persistence and by our patience.

Have you ever watched a parent help a baby take those first steps? They hold them by the hands and guide them along — patiently. They don’t try once or twice and then give up because the child did not hit the ground running. Parents are patient and persistent, helping the child along, and when the child does start walking they really take off!

I call for all members of the LGBT community to be those patient, guiding, supportive hands.
Let’s teach this baby to walk.

Ed. Note — Raine Cole is a former co-chair of Pride Charlotte and currently serves on the festival’s task force.

— Q-Notes strives to afford the Carolinas LGBT community an open forum for discussion and commentary. The views of guest commentators do not necessarily represent the official views or positions of Q-Notes, its editorial staff or publisher.