Things are better, and they are better because our activism, outreach and education have been unrelenting. But there is so much more to do.
About half of all same-gender loving people live in the US live in states that offer marriage equality now. That progress has been faster than most of us ever imagined. But let us not forget that half of all same-gender loving Americans do NOT live in places where they can be married and that means there is more work to do.
Even though the best science and social science has told us that homosexuality is not in and of itself disordered (sex, regardless of the genders involved, can be healthy and joyous or abusive and harmful, but love and attraction are themselves good, or at very least morally neutral), many continue to teach that homosexuality is a sin or a sickness. Yes, these homophobes have chosen their ignorance; they have said that the best science and scholarship cannot persuade them that it is their bigotry that is a problem and not the genders that make up a relationship, but these homophobes are legion still. Many of them have pulpits and positions of political influence. Many of them have children whom they are teaching to hate gays, and who are teaching their gay children to hate themselves. That means we have more work to do.
Even today, well into the 21st century, not only do an alarming number of people believe in an after-life hell (a notion that is ridiculous but no less terrifying for those who have been threatened with it) but they believe that same-sex love and attraction could be what would cause souls to suffer never ending torment. They honestly believe, as foolish as it sounds, that Divine Love would reject human souls because of human bodies sharing affection if those bodies also shared a gender! That oppressive theology would be comical if it hadn't destroyed so many lives and families. We have more work to do.
Younger people are generally more tolerant and accepting than previous generations, and that is a good thing; but gay bashing has not completely disappeared and gay teens are still more likely than others to suffer abuse, rejection, and bullying. We have more work to do.
If today, this very day, 90% of all homophobia were to be stricken from the laws and the attitudes of the American population, the homophobia the West has exported to Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean would still be killing people and ruining lives. In our global community, we must care about our neighbors and we must realize that the whole world is our neighbor. We must also realize that a lot of the homohatred in the world came from American politicians and preachers. So, we must help our global neighbors who will continue to suffer from the hatred we exported. We have more work to do.
And FINALLY, Transgender/Gender Non-conforming people are getting more positive recognition and advocacy; but there remains a lot of ignorance around the reality of gender fluidity. We have more work to do.
I am so glad that in many ways things are better; but let us never be tempted to believe that they are good enough. Lives still hang in the balance and as long as that is true, we have more work to do!
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins