Reflections on Three Years of Fighting for Family Equality

What’s a Family Equality Council staff member doing at the office
at 9:00pm on the day before the Fourth of July?

Well, it could be working on a piece of LGBT family-friendly
legislation that needs to get filed right after the holiday. Or it
could be dotting the i’s and t’s on the Family
Week
program so it gets to the printers on time. It could also
be putting the finishing touches on a training for educators to
make them more LGBT family competent.

In this case, it’s wrapping up three years of work for one of the
most aggressive and exciting LGBT organizations in operation. Today
is my last day at Family Equality Council. Next week I will start
new adventures at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, but before I
go I want to share a few parting thoughts.

The staff of Family Equality Council is one of the smartest, most
creative, dedicated groups of people I have ever had the privilege
to work with. The sheer magnitude of what we’ve been able to
accomplish in the last few years is hard to grasp.

When I came on in June 2006, we had just organized the first
contingent of LGBT families to attend the White House Easter Egg
Roll, generating unprecedented visibility for our families. We were
not invited. In fact, we showed up under threat of violence. Just
three short years ago, the times were very, very different.

And now, as I’m packing up my desk, Jennifer Chrisler, our
executive director, has just returned from her second trip to the
White House in three weeks — this time by invitation.

More than 100 people shared their
stories with us
, telling us what they think President Obama
should focus on — repealing DOMA and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;
passing LGBT family-inclusive health reform; passing the gender
identity-inclusive ENDA; and more. These are the stories Jennifer
shared when she visited the White House, and these are the stories
Family Equality Council will continue to share until our families
are treated equally.

And these are just the book ends of the last few years. In my time
here, we’ve traveled¬† across the country training parents and
allies how to tell their stories to affect change. We’ve held
community events for hundreds of families in California,
Massachuetts, Minnesota and beyond. We’ve launched a Public Policy
Department, one of the few in the LGBT community with the expertise
to draft inclusive legislation. We’ve assisted campaigns in
California, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota and
more. We’ve engaged families in drawing, poetry and other contests,
via email and our blog. We’ve been visible in national and local
media, and much, much more.

I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done here at Family Equality
Council, the people I’ve worked with, and the families I’ve come to
know and love.  This organization has a heart and vision that will
carry it through decades more work affecting social change. It’s
your heart and your vision Family Equality Council carries, and
it’s a responsibility this organization does not take lightly.

My best to you and your families. Keep fighting the good fights,
sharing and spreading your families’ love and joy to make the world
a better place!

–Dustin