Growing up Catholic in North Jersey in the ’90s, we just didn’t talk about gay rights. I first became aware of the movement as a teenager, when we moved to Ohio and I made my first gay friend, John. I didn’t know John all that well, but I remember him telling me about coming out to his friends and family, how his younger brother didn’t want to be alone with him, how classmates treated him in the halls.
I distinctly remember being profoundly saddened by the idea that John would be denied the things I took for granted about my future — getting married, having kids, being accepted by family and peers, living safely — simply because of the people he loved. When November 2004 rolled around, I cursed the fact that I wouldn’t be 18 and watched as ignorance and hate won out over what I knew to be right: Our government was based on the idea of granting freedom, not taking it away.
I desperately, desperately wanted to be a part of something that could right that wrong. So I became involved in politics, the Daily Kent Stater and eventually this magazine.
Adam and I drove to Cleveland to see “Milk” in December, and I left the theater with an intense, unyielding desire to work like never before for equality. And it hit me. Harvey Milk was known for saying: “If they know us, they don’t vote against us.”
In Fusion’s short history, it has lived up to that challenge. It serves not only as an outlet for the LGBT community and its allies but tells the stories of the people within it — the people who, whether by waving banners or quietly living their lives out of the closet, take Harvey Milk’s legacy and run with it.
In this issue, we learn about a fraternity that focuses on inclusion and acceptance, films that feature the experiences of those who are LGBT, and last but not least, the undying lessons Milk taught us. In my mind, this issue is dedicated to him, and to the countless others who came before and after him to work tirelessly so that love and equality know no boundaries.
Here’s to another five years (and more and more) of trying to be a voice so that someday everyone will know the story of someone who’s LGBT.
Fusion managing editor