E. Winter Tashlin

Once the Guns Are Silent [Picture Tells A Story]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | March 29, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Casco Bay, equality, Fort Gorges, Fort Preble, future of the LGBT community, gay rights movement, lgbt civil rights, lgbtq family, Portland Maine, PTAS, SMCC


The photo for today's Picture Tells A Story was taken through the cannon port of Fort Preble. Built in 1808 and finally shut down in 1952, the fort rests on what is now the campus of Southern Maine Community College. In the photo you can just make out the Civil War era Fort Gorges through the rusted shutters. Gorges stands mute guard in the middle of Casco Bay, just beyond the Spring Island Point Lighthouse.

Portland Maine is, and has long been, a crucial port city for the northeastern part of the USA, and the measures that have been taken to guard it over the last three hundred or more years are impressive. The coastline here is peppered with old fortifications, now toothless relics, afterimages of the vital defense system that they once were.

My mind the last few weeks has been particularly occupied with thoughts of how things change over time, and what the LGBT community will look like in years to come.

Next weekend I'll be giving the keynote address at Transcending Boundaries Conference 2014, on the topic of inclusion in the queer/LGBT community. It's made me really ask hard questions about where we're going as a movement and a community. We are, after all, making legal and social progress across the board in the US at an unprecedented rate - although unfortunately some of us are still farther ahead than others.

I certainly don't want to be counting chickens before they are hatched, but at some point soon we are going to have to start asking questions about who we are as a people rather than as a movement.

For the overwhelming majority of our history we have defined ourselves by who and what we are not. The shape our collective identity has taken has been forged in the fires of oppression, discrimination, and the struggle for equality.

We've learned well how to fight those fights, and built ourselves into a purpose-driven engine of change, working to claim our equal place in the laws and culture of the modern world.

But the tools of battle are rarely all that useful in peacetime. Just look at the rusting hulk of Forts Preble, Gorges, and their unseen siblings also protecting the waters of Casco Bay.

The day will hopefully come when the tools of our battles for equality are no longer of much use to us. We should make sure we've built new tools and senses of community so that we can thrive in the peace that we have been fighting so dearly for.

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