THE BLOG

The Quiet, Powerful Courage of Lambda Legal

06/24/2013 06:18 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

2013-06-20-The Quiet, Powerful Courage of Lambda Legal-Cheryl_Pappas__Lance_Bass__Better1.jpg

In the vast universe of humanitarian organizations, few are committed to creating a world where freedom reigns for all while sidestepping narcissistic fanfare the way that Lambda Legal is.

For those who don't know, Lambda Legal (Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund), as described on Wikipedia, is "an American civil rights organization that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) communities as well as people living with HIV/AIDS (PWAs) through impact litigation, education, and public policy work." Wikipedia further informs us that "Lambda's founder William J. Thom, Esq. submitted incorporation papers for approval to the New York Courts in 1971, but his application was denied on the grounds that its proposed activities would be contrary to public policy. That decision was overturned in 1973 by the New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court of New York State. (In re Thom, 301 N.E.2d 542 (N.Y. 1973).)."

What a difference four little decades make, right?

While these are times when public policy against gay marriage is opening its tight fist and long-overdue freedom is suddenly more and more upon us, we can thank Lambda Legal for leading the charge against such archaic discrimination.

Lambda Legal celebrated its 40th anniversary on June 13, 2013, at what was called the West Coast Liberty Awards, in West Hollywood. The event was expertly produced by Nadine Jolson and Roz Wolf of the Jolsen Creative PR Group.

The West Coast Liberty Awards' honoree of the evening was The New Normal's Justin Bartha, lead actor in the television sitcom (2012-2013) about a gay couple trying to have a family via surrogate.

The reason all of the above is anything but mundane and is worthy of notoriety and applause is that equality for gay people has never been a main dish on the American buffet table.

Beyond not appearing on America's priority list, gays have been the object of institutionalized hatred.

To wit, how many years was Alan Chambers and his Christian ministry, Exodus International, "hell-bent," literally, on "curing" homosexuality? How much toxic damage to self-worth and the fanning of homophobic flames did this man and his organization promote? Better late than never, yet very late is his recent apology for his passionate, years-long campaign against gay human beings.

It was therefore appropriate that the June 13 celebration was down-to-business, focused, and energetically serious. In other words, Lambda Legal means business in its commitment to the painstaking work of changing the lives of LGBT people one freedom at a time.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the host of the evening, Lance Bass, as well as notable presenters Dan Bucatinsky from Scandal, Olympic gold medalist (and soon-to-be-married) Greg Luganis, Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Rex Lee, who famously played Ari Gold's assistant Lloyd on Entourage.

Clearly, this was not a celebrity me-me-me fest. Everyone spoke from the heart and obviously knew from experience what it means to be gay in a gay-unfriendly world.

The very existence of Lambda Legal is cause for celebration.

Until every one of us is allowed to fully participate in life on the same playing field, the "game" of life will be about war, not love.

Lambda Legal is an organization to love, because it creates the possibility for love.