"Gaily Forward "
by Carlin Langley

WOW.. New Year (1998)! New Magazine (EXP)! New Column (Gaily Forward)! New Attitude
towards being GAY!?? Hmmm. Is there?

Well, I would say for the most part that is certainly a true statement! After all, in 1997, we here
in St. Louis were surprised and thrilled to see PFLAG put up billboards on some of our major
highways announcing the fact that "Hate Language only hurts our Gay Children". What a shock
and yet Pride I felt the first time I looked up and saw that in stunning print along Highway 170!
And what a profound statement it made to all people driving by it daily for the month it was up
there! St. Louis is for the most part, it seems pretty tolerant of our gay community. There are
isolated incidents as there are going to be anywhere, of gay bashing, but there seems to be fewer
here than there seem to be in many areas of the country!

We celebrate "Gay Day at 6 Flags" with some 850 tickets reportedly sold this past summer for
the event. And there we were, along with all of the straight families who happened to have picked
that day to visit the park, happily "co-existing" and standing in line side by side. We were
unashamed of the fact that we liked someone of the same sex rather than being of the same
persuasion that they were, proudly showing our colors and for the most part openly showing our
affections for each other without incident as far as I have heard! Gee, we've come a long way
from the intolerance of the 60's which culminated in "Stonewall" haven't we?

Gay themes are some of the most popular on today's talk shows, with more and more of the gay
guests being "the good guys" rather than being laughed at and ridiculed in public like it used to be
only a few years ago. Ru Paul is one of the favorite celebrities to have on them, along with such
notables as ChiChi LaRue who talks about her involvement in gay pornography and puts a whole
new face on what used to be such a taboo subject. Shows about jilted lovers and reuniting lovers
almost always include a gay couple along with the straight ones and people are just as
sympathetic with them as they are with the straight ones.

The point I'm making is this. We have made giant leaps and strides towards tolerance and living
together since those days of Stonewall and the modern day equivalent of Salem's witch hunts.
Even to the extent that Disney offers their benefits to gay couples now, and Ellen DeGeneres
"came out" on national TV last year. Why, even the President saw fit to declare a "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy with regards to our military.

So, isn't it shocking when we hear of cases like the case of Chief Petty Officer Timothy McVeigh
of the United States Navy? Just because in his AMERICA ON LINE Profile, he had the word
GAY listed next to Marital Status, he is being recommended for separation from the military after
serving our country faithfully for 16 years in the submarine corps. Anyone who would like to
know more or show their support for Officer McVeigh (no relation to the OKC bomber!) can
access his web site at http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/9241 to find out all about his case. The
best way for you to help is to make yourself heard!

Too many people go through life not saying or standing up for what they really feel.

If you wait for everyone else to make the change for you,

it will take longer and you may not like the change you get.


See you next time.. as we go GAILY FORWARD!!!

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