Alonzo Weston

I saw the movie “Rocket Man” a couple of weeks ago. It’s the story of one of our iconic musical heroes, Elton John.

The movie didn’t shy away from John’s drug addiction, attempted suicide and gay lifestyle. What I liked about the movie was its mood of redemption. In spite of all his trials and tribulations, John came out of it all happily successful. I thought the movie would be inspiring to some young kid struggling with his or her sexual identity. There have been too many kids who’ve taken their own lives because of the struggles of being gay or transgender. They couldn’t see a bright future.

We’ve gotten much better as a society in regard to acceptance, but we still have a way to go. Some churches still condemn gays and call them sinners unworthy of God’s love. It’s as if they live by the Old Testament rules of the Bible and forget the works of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Through history, people have twisted the words in the Bible to promote racist and misogynistic views. God is a God of love and acceptance for all his children.

We have come a long way toward acceptance since the 1950s and 1960s in regard to the LGBT community. Very few establishments welcomed gay people during that time.

Sen. Joe McCarthy, who conducted hearings searching for communists in the 1950s, deemed homosexuals un-American and subversive. They were considered a security risk and were viewed as being susceptible to blackmail.

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a mental disorder.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the FBI and police departments even kept lists of known homosexuals. The United States Postal Service kept track of addresses where material pertaining to homosexuality was mailed. Bars catering to homosexuals were shut down and their customers arrested.

Today, the month of June is recognized as Pride Month, which affords an opportunity to celebrate, peacefully protest and raise political awareness of the LGBT community.

Pride Month features parades, street parties, community events, workshops, concerts, poetry readings and public speakers in many cities across the country.

June was chosen because of the Stonewall Riots that took place in Manhattan on June 28, 1969. The riots were violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. That the Stonewall Inn catered to people in the gay community served as reason for the police raid.

The riots led to the gay liberation movement in the 1960s and the current fight for LGBT rights today.

Some people try to compare the gay rights movement to the black civil rights movement. It compares in some ways, but you can’t hide blackness in a closet. However, we all aren’t free and equal if even one of us is not free and equal.

The only task God charges us with is to love one another, the judging is left to him. Try to remember that this month of June.

Alonzo Weston can be reached


Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.