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Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020

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'My favorite holiday'
'My favorite holiday'
by Jennifer Vanasco - Special to the SGN

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

There's no gift exchange. There's no Easter Egg hunting. There's no fireworks to wait outside for, greeting cards to remember to buy, and no forced celebration of the military-industrial complex.

There's only a large, well-cooked meal with the people you love.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's the one day a year when we focus on all we have instead of all we don't.

For one day, we turn away from our griping, from our bitterness. For one day, we are able to look away from the deep sense of injustice that burns our bones and instead be grateful for all we have and all we've achieved.

We need that feeling of injustice, most days. We need our anger. We need our sadness, our desire for more equality. We need those things in order to move forward.

But Thanksgiving is our day of rest from continual fighting. It gives us a space to celebrate our achievements and be grateful.

Let's be thankful for our families, first, and our friends who are like our families. Let's be thankful - better, let's actually thank, in person - the people who have supported us, who have loved us even when we weren't behaving well, the people who have taken a chance on us and our causes and our ideas. Let's thank the people who patted us on the back, who gave us a leg up, who taught us everything we know.

Let's thank our partners, our children, our parents, our sisters and brothers, our oldest friends and the new friends who have inspired us. Let's be thankful for the relationships that survive time, distance and misunderstandings.

Let's thank those in our movement who fight on our behalf. For one day, let's call a d├ętente to the ENDA battle and thank everyone on all sides for spending time and money and energy to win equality.

Let's especially thank all those who refuse to be complacent, who shout louder when people tell them to sit down. I'm thankful for radical activists who make plain old Gay activists look moderate and reasonable to the legislature.

Maybe you're an activist yourself. Maybe you've given money to one of our organizations, or written a letter to Congress, or traveled to Washington to march or lobby your senators and representatives. Maybe you've lobbied your own family so that they'll be more Gay friendly. If so, we're thanking you, too.

Let's be grateful that two girls were named "cutest couple" in a Chicago suburb, and grateful that that America's youth don't see what the big deal is about being Gay.

Let's be grateful for those who came before us who brought us to the place where America's youth don't think Gayness is a big deal.

Let's also thank Larry Craig, Bob Allen, and all the other GOP Gay-haters who are proving the maxim that the more homophobic you are, the more likely you are to be having secret sex with people of your own gender.

I can almost guarantee that when everyone believes that, homophobia will die.

Let's thank the Democratic candidates. We've come a long way when the question isn't, "Do you support Gay and Lesbian rights?" but "Which rights do you support?"

It wasn't so many elections ago that we were thankful just to be included in a laundry list of minorities. That candidates are now talking about our issues in a substantial way is stunning.

Let's be grateful for Ellen DeGeneres, who has started to use her considerable platform to be more out herself, and to be more vocal about promoting Gay and Lesbian rights.

Be grateful more and more celebrities come out all the time, providing all of us with more diverse images of Gayness. This year (so far) included Grey's Anatomy star T.R. Knight, former NBA player John Amaechi, actor David Hyde Pierce, Australian singer Missy Higgins (who came out last week), North Carolina Senate candidate Jim Neal and Harry Potter's ally Albus Dumbledore.

Let's be grateful for Harry Potter.

And let's be thankful for the media. They really do try hard every day to get the story and get it right. More and more often, they're telling our stories; more and more often, they are getting our ordinariness right.

The day after Thanksgiving -Black Friday - we can go back to thinking about all the things the world gets wrong. On Black Friday we can go back to pointing out all the places everyone falls short.

But for this one day, let's celebrate all the people, all the organizations, all the things we and our loved ones have done to get something - even one thing - right.

Jennifer Vanasco is an award-winning, syndicated columnist. Email her at She blogs daily on the Gay political site

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