Anthony Watson wrote a great commentary for Pink News UK to remember the assassination of Harvey Milk. Watson is Managing Director & Chief Information Officer (“CIO”) of Europe Middle East Retail & Business Banking & Global Operations at Barclays Bank PLC and is the only openly gay CIO of a Fortune 100 company in the world. He is also a member of GLAAD's board of directors. To those who think that the movement for LGBT equality has moved on, Watson, says this is only the beginning.
Don’t think for one moment that marriage equality alone marks the end. In fact, it only marks the beginning. We might have won the opening battle, but the war to change not just the legal definition, but how we, as LGBT people are perceived and treated, will be a lifelong battle to change the hearts and minds of those around us.
To put it another way, whilst the battle lines have shifted, the war is still a long way from being won.
Today in America, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in grades 7 – 12 are more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Equally, recent research by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that 25% of LGBT student and university employees in the United States have experienced harassment due to their sexual orientation.
And it remains shocking fact that 29 States in the United States still don’t make it illegal to discriminate against an employee on the basis of sexual orientation. Simply because someone is who they are, they can be fired.
All of this helps to highlight just why LGBT equality and advocacy organizations remain, not only relevant but of vital importance. They are as critical today as they’ve ever been, and why I think it’s so very important that we all give, both with our time and with our money, to help the remarkable work so many of these organizations do to dismantle oppression and build support for full equality.