At my new school, I joined the equivalent of the gay/straight alliance. At a recent meeting we were challenged to get in touch with our roots and read books about the history of the Gay Rights Movement. Being a poor college student, but intrigued, I downloaded a bunch of samples from books like Making Gay History and A Queer History of the United States.
I really enjoyed these samples and both of the books I've named are now on my "Book to Purchase When I Have Money" list. And even though these samples were only 10% of the book, they did offer me one really good insight: we have come a long way.
Lately my home-state of Utah has been battling against recognizing same sex marriage and it has been incredibly disheartening. Moving to Wyoming has put me back in the closet as it were, because I am now faced with the "do I, don't I," question of coming out to my roommate and the new people that I meet. Hearing anti-gay sentiment from people that I meet, reading about it in the newspaper... it makes me wonder if this is a battle worth fighting, if this is the mountain I want to die on. I ask myself, "Will being homosexual ever be okay with the majority of people? Will my relationship with a woman ever be federally recognized, and state-transferable?" I bitch and I moan about how much farther we have to go. But then I read those samples.
Did you know that in the '50's, if you were even SUSPECTED of being gay, you couldn't get a teaching license in the state of California? Or that sending anything that mentioned anything remotely homosexual, like relationship advice, through the mail was a federal offense? That men would go to lesbian bars, sexually assault the women and when accused would say "But they are gay, you can't rape a gay woman"? That you could go to an asylum if it was confirmed that you were gay? Being gay was considered a treatable, mental illness until the '70's. Now that is disheartening.
Comparing these things- where we are now and where we were 60 years ago- we are in the last few miles of an ultramarathon that has been hundreds of miles long.
In therapy, one of the things I have been told a lot is that reframing is a good thing. That is, rather than looking at the situation and thinking, "but look at all that is left to do", look at a situation and think, "look at all I have done". We may have a ways left to go, but look how far we've come.