This is what I want. And I ask: what about you?
I want an international print campaign to support equal rights. I want newspapers, magazines, websites, billboards – you name it – to fill our world with support for equality so that any child, youth, grown-up or elderly person who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer, anywhere in the world, will know they are not alone.
I want to counteract the hate, silencing and fear with love. I want love to be the face of the equal rights movement for the LGBTQ community. I want to fill the world with love. Imagine what that could look like.
I want couples, individuals, friends, co-workers and families of all kinds to share the most universally recognized symbol of love. I want photographs of people of all nationalities showing their support for equality with a “Kiss for Equality.”
I want actors, singers, authors, poets, musicians, activists, politicians and leaders from all over the world to kiss someone they love and say, “Let’s Kiss Inequality Good-bye.” It’s time.
It’s time for everyone to experience Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, for everyone to know they are beautiful just the way they are.
It’s time for same-sex couples, same-sex parents, children of same-sex parents, and all LGBTQ persons at home, at school, in the workplace or in retirement to be protected by the laws of their lands.
It’s time to end harassment, bullying, prejudice, discrimination, suppression, correctional rapes, “conversions,” violence, and the use of the Bible as a tool for punishing the innocent.
It’s time to spread love. It’s time to change history.
Are you with me?
On September 8th, thousands of people worldwide will be gathering near Russian consulates to stage an International Day of Solidarity for the LGBTQ community.
Entitled “To Russia, With Love,” events will include people marching, demonstrating and participating in a Global Kiss-In to protest the recent anti-gay laws in Russia, the chosen host country for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The message will be clear: violating anyone’s human rights anywhere in the world will not be tolerated. And for those who are suffering from abuse and have no voice, we will be your voice.
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Let’s take advantage of this momentum. Let’s take it further. Let’s establish a campaign that can be seen everywhere, in every state, in every country, on every day of the year.
So that a lonely young passenger in an airport in Nairobi might pick up a left-behind magazine one day, flip through its pages and see a photograph of a couple kissing not for fashion but for Equality. And that passenger might think, as she boards her flight, that she never thought she’d see the day when the world was on her side. But yes, the world is on her side.
This is what I want. What about you?
Sarah S. Kilborne is an author, editor, historian and translator writer. Her most recent book, “American Phoenix: The Remarkable Story of William Skinner, a Man Who Turned Disaster into Destiny,” was published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster in October.