The Bailey House community celebrates today’s landmark decision by the US Supreme Court, holding that marriage is a constitutional right that applies equally to members of the LGBTQ community as it does to heterosexuals. The decision is especially timely as our community and others get ready to march down 5th Avenue on Sunday to celebrate our pride, diversity and staunch commitment to social justice and advocacy.
Now that the Marriage Equality movement has been victorious, it’s time for us to focus on combatting other social justice issues that affect our community. Discrimination in housing, employment, healthcare and other areas, vital to survival and dignity, must be eliminated. Just two months ago a member of the Bailey House community, who moved down South with his husband of thirty years, was fired just one week into his new management job because his “lifestyle” was contrary to the moral code of his employer, the Catholic diocese. Sadly, today’s ruling will have little meaning for his situation.
Combating poverty, an issue that is rarely discussed in the LGBTQ community, also needs to rise to the top of our agenda. Most LGBTQ Bailey House clients struggle under the weight of dire poverty and the homelessness and poor health outcomes that accompany it. For many, the victories of the LGBTQ community are elusive as they struggle to get through the day. Just yesterday, we hosted the LGBTQ youth who reside in our STARS program at a Pride Picnic. Now housed, they are taking on other life challenges like obtaining an education, finding employment and getting support for the depression and isolation that has often punctuated their lives. Let’s not allow another generation of LGBTQ youth face homelessness and despair.