06/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Gay Graduates and the New American Dream

Hello Gay Graduate,

You sure are in a bitter time to be thrust out of the womb of higher education. When I graduated college 15 years ago, America was in a golden decade. Five years before, the Berlin Wall had come down, giving us a new sense of security. We were at peace. We had saved the World Trade Center from destruction in 1992. The economy was booming. For someone like me, who wanted to go into print journalism, the job opportunities were everywhere.

How times have changed.

You may be wondering, gay graduate, how you are going to get a job. I wonder that, too. You may wonder if you will ever be able to live the American dream: buying your own house, working in a career that you love, making enough money to have family vacations and to send your kids to college themselves.

I don't know.

Times are hard, gay graduate. Even if they have work, people are worried. There is a pretty good chance that if you get that first job, you'll be laid off. Mortgages will likely never be as easy to get again. Crime is creeping back up.

You might as well just go back to your parents' house and hide under your childhood bed.

Except. You have an advantage that your straight colleagues don't have. You are living in a time when your community is experiencing real hope. Real change.

Fifteen years ago, gay graduate, lesbians were chic, but we couldn't get married. Some of us had domestic partnership ceremonies -- mine was held in a Wellesley College courtyard, the day brightened by strong sun and a breeze puffing off the lake. I didn't ever think I would be able to get married. It wasn't even on my radar. It was as impossible as -- well, as impossible to imagine as the death of newsprint, or the ability to conduct the details of your life on the Internet. (I didn't see my first web page until the summer after I graduated college).

And yet, suddenly, here we are.

Gay marriage is not only possible, but here. Fifty state equal marriage is inevitable. We will serve openly in the military. We will be protected against being fired because we are gay.

And gay graduate, at some point in your long life, you are going to find that you can be out and happily gay in whatever job you have, from Hollywood actor to major league baseball player, to Fortune 500 CEO, to minister, to homemaker.

At some point in your life, being gay will be a quirk, like being left-handed. You will tell your kids about a world where gay people couldn't get married in all states, and they will not believe you.

This is my message to you: The impossible happens. Towers fall, yes. Economies implode. But radical good can come seemingly from nowhere. The unimaginably wonderful can happen.

The world -- really -- can change, and you can change it. You know this is true, because you are living in that change now. You are witnessing first-hand what people can do when they are true to themselves and then work together for the greater good.

You will find a job, gay graduate. Maybe not immediately, but you will. You will find love. You will find happiness. You will find adventure.

And someday, you will find yourself in a world where all of these gay rights, which today seem so radical to so many, will seem perfectly ordinary to all.

You will find yourself in a world that you cannot today imagine. And it will be golden. It will be the new American dream.

Jennifer Vanasco is editor in chief of and an award-winning, syndicated columnist.