August 29, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
I have a quick bit of good news that I wanted to share with you all. The Vice President is hosting a group of LGBT activists and writers for a “celebrat[ion of] the next generation of LGBT Leaders” and Courage Campaign nominated me to be one of those recognized at the event. Officials at the White House agreed, and I will be headed there next month! I’ll be attending a BBQ at the Vice President’s residence with Vice President Biden himself and Dr. Biden, and then there will be a LGBT Policy Roundtable I’ll be able to take part in as well. I’ll be able to talk to other LGBT activists and probably some White House officials about my work for Prop 8 Trial Tracker and Courage Campaign. As many of us amateur legal eagles know, the coverage and attention to the goings on in the LGBT judicial realm out there can be quite minimal at times, so I’m excited to bring more attention to our blog here and the work we all do together.
I’ve never been to Washington DC, much less to the White House by invitation so this is all incredibly unreal.
A good friend of mine wanted to break the news herself, so she wrote a post over at Daily Kos about the invitation. She does a better job of explaining the significance of this in my life than I ever could, so I’ll just quote her:
So there he was, fifteen years old, suddenly in a wheelchair, and headed for rehab. At about the same time he inadvertently came out to his family through a letter-writing mishap and was met with horror and rejection and attempts to “pray the gay away”. He was told in no uncertain terms that “it” would not be “allowed” in his parents’ home. Now, imagine yourself in Scottie’s position. Imagine what that must have felt like. Fifteen-year-olds are all about body image and sexuality, right? How does a young man deal with loss of mobility, family rejection, and the complications of dating while in a wheelchair? Can you imagine how lonely and rejected and trapped he must have felt?When I met Scottie a few years ago he was disabled, unemployed, depressed, isolated, and living alone in a small low-income apartment. He had no local friends, little positive contact with his family, and forget about a social life. But he had one tiny tiny thing going for him: Scottie is freaking brilliant. Combine a huge intellect with a gift for writing, a passion for justice, and unending curiosity – not to mention a great sense of humor and an ability to listen- and you’ve got something damn special.
This is a big deal for me, and I’ll be able to learn more from fellow activists and bloggers while I’m in DC, and I will be able to promote the work that Courage Campaign is doing and the writing our team at Prop 8 Trial Tracker works tirelessly every day to get out there, to help explain these complex legal issues working their way through federal and state courts and even the Supreme Court. Many of these cases are coming to a resolution, some perhaps sooner than others, and it’s so important for the media, activists, bloggers, and the government to pay attention to these issues. This is a chance to not only promote our own writing, but an opportunity to carve out a place for LGBT legal issues to earn a real discussion.
I’m really grateful for the opportunity to make sure these issues get the attention they deserve, and even more grateful to be a part of the Prop 8 Trial Tracker team. I’ll be sure to blog from DC on my experience there. Thanks for helping make this blog what it is!