How gay can you get? Because there is recent news that should make gay people even happier (you might say more gay!).
First, despite the fact that the Republican Party is losing moderates, and becoming more socially conservative, a new poll (based on over 50 thousand telephone interviews during 2020) shows that for the first time a majority of Republicans support same-sex marriage. I find this extremely promising, considering that until a few years ago same-sex marriage was one of the strongest GOP wedge issues. I was frankly surprised when gay marriage became legal, and almost expected a backlash against it from the right.
Instead, the new survey shows that 51% of people who identify as Republicans support and approve of gay marriage. In 2019, the number was only 47%. The percentage of people who approve of same-sex marriage has been increasing steadily over the last ten years. Indeed, today, 72% of independents and around three-quarters of Democrats support it.
An even larger majority of all partisan groups support LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections: 62% of Republicans, 79% of independents, and 85% of Democrats. In February, the House passed a bill that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but the bill has languished in the Senate due to opposition from the GOP. If the current trends continue, it is only a matter of time before it becomes law.
Second, Joe Biden nominated Rachel Levine to the position of assistant secretary of health. Levine is a pediatrician, former Pennsylvania physician general, and currently the Pennsylvania Health Secretary, but is about to be the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the US Senate.
Finally, and something that is particularly gratifying to me, is that as part of the UK changing their banknotes, the new 50 pound note will feature the image of Alan Turing. Turing is one of the most famous pioneers of early computing. He was a brilliant mathematician, who had a huge impact across many fields, including biology. Turing is probably best known for his work breaking the Nazi Enigma code, which was thought to be unbreakable. In order to do this, he designed and built a precursor to the digital computer. Historians estimate that this enormous feat shortened WWII by around two years and saved millions of lives. I think they are being too conservative in their estimates, and it is not too far-fetched to think that the Germans might have won the war otherwise.
But despite all of his achievements, Turing endured terrible persecution for being gay, including from the government. Even though he saved millions of lives, he died at the age of 41 from suicide, an outcast who was stripped of his security clearance because of his sexuality, forced to take estrogen shots that chemically castrated him, and basically hounded to death. I just wonder what else he could have achieved if he had lived longer.
I am hopeful that this sad, misguided pseudo-pandemic of discrimination and persecution of gay people may sometime, hopefully soon, be banished to the past, and all people gain the right and opportunity to achieve their potential and live happy lives.
Also published on Medium.