Thanksgiving Day was always a big event in my family. My Mom would tell my Dad to take my sister and me out of the house so she could start cooking in peace. My Dad would make us an early breakfast and then bundle us up and head to the subway so we could get a good spot along the route to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. When we got home, chilled and excited from what we had seen, there would be a fantastic dinner nearly ready for all the friends my parents had invited, including a beautiful 25-pound turkey that had been roasting for hours and all the side dishes like yams with marshmallows melted on top, homemade cranberry sauce, and apple and lemon meringue pies for dessert. To this day when I watch the parade on TV it brings back many wonderful memories.
Today when sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with friends I am reminded of how much we have to be thankful for: the great life I have, a wonderful sister and sister-in-law, so many great friends, a fulfilling job and the chance to write this column and others sharing my ideas and thoughts with so many. I’m thankful to have Java House, my favorite coffee shop on “Q” Street that some have called my “living room” and for all the people I have met there over a cup of coffee at 7 a.m. — those good souls who are now part of my extended family in D.C.
Not everyone is as lucky as most of us living in the United States. I recognize there are many even here in the District who still need our help and am thankful for the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement that I hope with time will lead us to more economic equality. We can also be thankful that many who are part of the OWS protests and call themselves the 99 percent still live better lives than so many others around the world.
This year we can also give thanks for the newest reality comedy show on television, otherwise known as the Republican presidential debates. I am thankful for President Obama and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” even when the slow pace of progress is so frustrating. The LGBT community needs to be thankful for Reps. Barney Frank, Jared Polis, Tammy Baldwin and David Cicilline for representing us in Congress and look forward to next year when we can thank the people of Wisconsin for electing our first openly lesbian senator. I am thankful for Hillary Clinton, whom I have admired for so many years, for standing strong at the Department of State and making us all proud.
Our community is also grateful and offers thanks to all the incredible people who give their time to help others, including Adam Tenner at MetroTeen AIDS, Andrew Barnett at SMYAL, Ron Simmons at Us Helping Us and Don Blanchon at Whitman-Walker Health. We also thank Chuck Wolfe and the Victory Fund for their work to elect more members of the LGBT community to public office.
I am thankful for Freddie Lutz of Freddie’s Beach Bar for proving you can have a successful gay bar in Virginia and for being a good friend; and for Eric Little and David Perruzza of JR.’s for being institutions in this town and running an establishment that meant so much to me for many years and now means so much to many others. Thanks to David Franco of Universal Gear, among his other businesses, for being an honest, all-around good guy and stalwart businessman in D.C.; and to my friend Brad Luna for having the guts to start his own business, Luna Media Group, and turning it into a success. Thanks to R. Clarke Cooper for being a very rational executive director of Log Cabin Republicans; and to Shaun Donovan, Secretary of HUD, for his strong support of marriage equality.
The LGBT community must give thanks to Dean Snyder at Foundry Methodist Church for his unwavering support of the community and to my good friend Michael Kahn for his amazing work at the Shakespeare Theatre and for being a leader in the arts community in D.C. for the past 25 years.
There are so many people I couldn’t mention here who we need to be thankful for at this time of year. To all of them I offer a toast on this Thanksgiving weekend for all you do and for all you mean to us.