Friday, May 15, 2015

The millennial contrast

I have done little to advance LGBT equality. I am just an observer and blogger. I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of people like Evan Wolfson. Evan represented James Dale in what eventually became Boy Scouts of America v. Dale in 2000. The loss in that case was devastating but it only energized Evan who became founder and president of Freedom to Marry. Here in Florida people like Nadine Smith, head of Equality Florida, are in the trenches every day — fighting the good fight. I can live peacefully in South Beach as an openly gay man.

(who is correcting typo after typo - Ugh)

It wasn't always that way for me. Growing up I fiercely denied my sexuality to myself. My (gorgeous) roommate and best friend in prep school sensed that I was gay. It was something that we didn't discuss. Things didn't change much in college. I was career oriented and knew that being gay would sink my ship. That fear was not unfounded. In most of corporate America being gay meant being unemployed.

There was a two year period in my career that I am deeply ashamed of. I was openly hostile to employees perceived as being gay. My shtick was super macho hard ass. When I met my partner I accepted my sexuality. I gradually came out of the closet which forced me to change jobs in spite of a spectacular record of accomplishments. As an openly gay executive (at this point a chief operating officer) my management style gradually changed from autocratic to coaching. I become much more effective. However, my life and my career were a long, hard and very ugly road.

Depending upon geography and other factors such as the religiosity of their parents, today's millennials have a much different path ahead of them. They came out and accepted their sexuality at a much earlier age. They have had gay and straight friends. I am generalizing but I was a gay person. They are people who happen to be gay. It's a huge difference. They can look forward to good careers and marriage while being true to themselves.

South Beach provides an odd sampling of humanity. Nevertheless, when I speak to young gay people they don't have a clue what is going on around them. They accept their new status as an entitlement. If you mention United States v. Windsor they have no idea what you are talking about. They seem totally self-absorbed. It's all rather depressing. Yes, I know that there are energetic teens and young adults who are committed to the movement. However, their zeal seems to be in the minority.

It is disturbing that Evan Wolfson is anonymous among so many young people. Just two cents on a quiet Friday from the short Jew smoking a big cigar.

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