A gay conservative, a black transgender woman, and an out television journalist walk into a TV studio... sounds like the start of a good joke, right?
But it was just my Friday at work at MSNBC. And you know what? Three LGBT people appeared together on a mainstream media cable channel talking news, politics, and common sense, and television sets across the country didn't explode!
Some big news last week:
Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland signed the Civil Protection Marriage Act into law, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage. The law takes effect January 2013.
In New Jersey, Maryland's neighbor to the north, that battle for marriage equality persists. Governor Chris Christie, an out spoken foe, vetoed a bill for marriage equality presented by his state's legislature. Christie says he would prefer that the majority vote on minority rights. Christie may get his wish, along with a political wake-up call, because a new poll shows that 57 percent of Garden State voters approve of such a law.
Also last week, LGBT activists were dismayed to hear from Capitol Hill that Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine, will not seek reelection, citing extensive and nasty bipartisanship. Snowe, who voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," is also a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (as it stands now, there are 29 states where it is legal to fire someone for being "out" in the workplace, and in 34 states employers have they legal right to fire you for being transgender). The question now: with one of the last Republican moderates throwing in the towel, who will be a leading voice of tolerance inside a party that currently controls one half of Congress?
Luckily, I get to use my job to talk about this and shine a light in dark places. We still have so much to talk about.