Thursday, August 08, 2013

Obama Awards Two (Dead) LGBT Heroes the Medal of Freedom

The Congressional Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor. Today the White House announced that it was awarding the Medal to two openly LGBT heroes of mine, Bayard Rustin and Sally Ride.
Sally Ride (posthumous)Sally Ride was the first American female astronaut to travel to space.  As a role model to generations of young women, she advocated passionately for science education, stood up for racial and gender equality in the classroom, and taught students from every background that there are no limits to what they can accomplish.  Dr. Ride also served in several administrations as an advisor on space exploration. Bayard Rustin (posthumous)Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all.  An advisor to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he promoted nonviolent resistance, participated in one of the first Freedom Rides, organized the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities at home and abroad.  As an openly gay African American, Mr. Rustin stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights. 
This is the 50th anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F.Kennedy establishing the award. There are other luminaries on the list that you may recognize (like Oprah Winfrey).

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