This Land is Your Land

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by Katie ten Hagen

My friend DJ was in Washington, DC, on June 26, when the US Supreme Court finally legalized gay marriage nationwide. At midnight, he joined an elated crowd outside the White House, celebrating the victory and the powerful sight of the rainbow flag projected against the White House. That sight was soon surpassed by something even more powerful:  A man standing beside him spontaneously broke into song. He began singing “This Land Is Your Land” in a strong, unwavering voice that silenced the crowd. A minute later, a woman rode up on a bicycle and began to harmonize. Their impromptu duet riveted the crowd. And then it was over. The singers hugged and parted.

This land is your land. The marriage equality decision represents the culmination of a campaign for equality that has been remarkable and unprecedented in its speed and success. It means real change that affects countless lives for the better, and offers hope that the world is becoming a more equal and accepting place. Here at the APA offices just around the corner from Capitol Hill, we’ve been right in the thick of celebrations. This Day in June, published by our sister imprint Magination Press—a book that won the 2015 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award for exceptional merit relating to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender experience—describes the vibrant and joyful celebration of a Pride Parade through a child’s eyes.

47365798At the same time, the world is not yet perfect. Legal does not necessarily mean accepted, and accepting those different from ourselves has been a hurdle for the human race for as long as we have existed. Just as the end of legalized racial discrimination did not eliminate racism, homophobia will remain long after gay marriage becomes the law of the land. In recognition of this, we recently published Happy Together: Thriving as a Same-Sex Couple in Your Family, Workplace, and Community, a book to help couples work together to identify, develop, and use their strengths and skills to successfully navigate relationship stress, while confronting external prejudice within families, in the workplace, and elsewhere.

Some prejudice is obvious, but sometimes it takes more subtle forms. Sometimes it is ingrained so deeply in our social interactions that it’s difficult to even notice—unless you are the one targeted. Seemingly inconsequential slights, as simple as a word, phrase, or tiny action, accumulate over time and weigh on members of targeted minority groups with feelings of victimization and exclusion. That’s So Gay! looks at the scholarly literature on microaggressions directed at LGBTQ people, and offers readers a blueprint for developing a culture of acceptance, instead of exclusion. An upcoming book from Magination Press, Ouch Moments: When Words Hurt, takes a stark and realistic look at microaggressions as they occur between children. Ouch Moments will be released in September 2015.

The world is not perfect, and it never will be. On June 26, we celebrated a momentous step forward. The work continues.

Katie Ten Hagen

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