I went to Bryn Mawr College, an academic institution with an entrenched mission of supporting eccentricities. For example, we held a May Day, a celebration of Spring: white dresses, hoop races, Maypole dancing… Do I know why? Honestly, no. It was tremendous fun, and I dove in wholeheartedly from freshwoman year on, but nope, no real clue.
I knew nothing about the tie between labor rights demonstrations and May 1 as International Workers’ Day. I only vaguely learned of such things as I entered the workforce, and, shamefacedly, I’ll admit I still don’t know a great deal about the history of organized labor in this country.
The current connotation of May Day as a day to be violent sickens me. It has malevolent, long-reaching shadows, from police violence against peaceful demonstrators in 1886 to mail bombs directed at political figures in 1919 to our “modern” penchant for destroying property. I am moved to see American demonstrators returning to peaceful approaches, especially as they now honor and speak for American immigrants.
I want to recognize the truest purpose of May Day: the calling-out of injustice. And so today I highlight the work of the NW LGBT Senior Care Providers Network. The Network is an informal coalition of Senior Care Providers working together to provide advocacy and quality of care for the LGBT seniors of Washington State, based on collaboration between community organizations and businesses. I’m a devoted member. The Network’s mission is vital to the potential for healthy, dignified lives for thousands of people.
I volunteered for the (NYC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in the early 80s. I met a lesbian couple who never let anyone else know. Not about themselves individually, not as a couple. The event I hosted was the first time they had ever made themselves known, and they had been together 15 years. Last month, I learned about a 78-year-old celebrating a 10-year-old relationship. The first time this person has ever been open.
I’m out as a bridge and a lifeline. No consenting adults should be shamed for love.