Composing the Quiz feature for DiversityCentral.com involves two main forms of excitement: the process of researching the topic and the challenge of writing engaging questions. It’s my most favorite feature to write, but June’s topic of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride allowed me to read up on facts that gently beckoned tears to my eyes.
I wrote the majority of this month’s Quiz in a favorite coffee shop in Capitol Hill, Seattle. The cafe music, soothing as usual, perfectly accompanied the rustic, homey style of the shop – just the right ambiance for my work.
Every Quiz feature begins with brainstorming a central idea to make researching easier. To help the public understand the struggles and triumphs of the LGBT community, I figured a historic timeline would be best. The central source was a PBS article that provided a detailed timeline. I picked out the most momentous events and conducted extended research to develop the “Answers” section which provides background information.
Naturally, conducting detailed research for each question of the Quiz further pulls me into the topic. Because of the timeline setup I chose for this piece, researching and composing the Quiz allowed me to follow the progression of the LGBT community.
It was heart wrenching.
These are individuals within our nation of people who have struggled through numerous issues and countless emotional hardships – all because of a characteristic they have no control of. Before major changes in U.S. society occurred, people with LGBT identity had no choice but to befriend shame and secrecy. Organizations founded to support them were held in the shadows, while individuals constantly in the public’s eye had to conceal their true identity. It’s almost like they voluntarily imprisoned a part of themselves away from the world.
So there I was, gathering information and compiling what I saw that fit into the Quiz format while sipping on my hazelnut latte. Then I got to question seven, which regards the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the U.S. military. It was repealed in 2010, but the anecdote that President Barack Obama presented during the ceremony was the cause for my eyes brimming with tears.
An outstanding example of camaraderie was demonstrated 66 years ago in the Battle of the Bulge. Private Lloyd Corwin tumbled down 40 feet of a ravine during a firefight, awaiting death’s approach. Due to an extreme act of bravery, what instead approached him was fellow soldier Andy Lee, who turned back to save his comrade. Four decades later of gratitude for his soldier, Lloyd Corwin discovered that his comrade was gay. But he didn’t care.
Obama ended the story with the words, “Lloyd knew what mattered. He knew what had kept him alive; what made it possible for him to come home and start a family and live the rest of his life. It was his friend.”
Coming from a military family, being surrounded by other military relatives, and living the nomadic military childhood made me comfortably accustomed to the lifestyle of a soldier. Great bonds exist between comrades on the battlefield, including trust and friendship, regardless of the mission at hand. To know of a true story that presented such value in friendship during a moment of life and death was heart warming. To know of a true story that presented lifelong friendship and gratitude, regardless of the savior’s sexual orientation, was tear-jerking.
Seeing such positive progression on LGBT inclusion in our nation, especially in a stern community such as the military, is inspiring. Composing this month’s Quiz was definitely a memorable experience that makes me appreciate the acceptance of all people in all communities.