Hopefully everyone reading this is already aware of the great progress North Carolina made earlier in October by ending the ban on gay marriage in our state. On October 10th, my new husband (we were married on October 18th) and I had the great honor of standing in line with same sex couples at the court house in downtown Durham to apply for our marriage license. Outside the courthouse were groups of people with supportive signs and flowers to give to couples as well as a few clergy members and photographers. The feeling in the air that day was celebratory and powerful. Over the following weeks, the crowds of supporters have dwindled. And understandably so; one, it is difficult to sustain a spirit of celebration over weeks and two, hopefully, one day, it will seem preposterous that our country ever denied anyone the right to marry. But until then, we need to internalize successes like these to give us the fuel to continue working towards greater social justice.
As a masters student, I have had the opportunity to work as research assistant for Rebecca Brigham, our field office director. Our work has focused on queer-identified students experiences in field and how to best ensure that queer identities are not just tolerated, but celebrated in the workplace. To that end, the LGBTQ student caucus and field office hosted a panel presentation on celebrating queer identity in the workplace. Our panelist spoke with great honesty and clarity about their experiences as queer identified social workers. If you couldn’t make it this year, please plan on attending the panel presentation next fall. We need to keep the conversation going and to remind each other of the steps we’ve taken towards greater social justice whenever we feel discouraged.