Long Beach is the seventh most populous city in California. It's a city that's near & dear to us because it's adjacent to our original homeland "Behind the Orange Curtain". And pretty soon, Long Beach will have a new Mayor.
His name is Robert Garcia. He came to America with his parents from Peru when he was five. He's an adjunct professor at USC, and he's already been serving as Vice Mayor on the Long Beach City Council.
Robert Garcia will be Long Beach's youngest Mayor. He will be Long Beach's first Latin@ Mayor. Oh, and he will also be Long Beach's first openly gay Mayor.
Once upon a time, prominent and proud LGBTQ elected leaders were unimaginable. Now, they're all across the nation. And yes, that even includes Nevada. Assembly Member Andrew Martin (D-Enterprise) is running for Nevada State Controller. Assembly Member James Healey (D-Enterprise) is running for reelection. And State Senators David Parks (D-Paradise), Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas), and Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) will be returning to the Nevada Legislature (as they were all elected in 2012).
Once upon a time, the closet was the only acceptable place for LGBTQ Americans. Marriage equality was "radical". "The Gay Plague" was "just punishment". And pride parades were revolutionary acts.
Oh, how times have changed. Now, high school principals come out to their students. Out soccer, football, and basketball players are welcomed into the league. And Time Magazine is beginning to show our entire community the respect we deserve.
And of course, Long Beach will soon have an out Mayor. And Nevada will likely have several out legislators in Carson City next year. Maybe we'll even soon have our first out statewide elected official?
As we documented earlier this week, there are still more challenges ahead of us. We don't yet have full equality. We still have further to go.
But at least now, we're on our way. At least now, we know that it truly does get better. And that's something we can all celebrate with pride this month.