America, You Did Good.
During the first terrifying upsurge in the AIDS crisis in 1982, two of my best friends had their lives torn apart. They had been happily living together and running their own business in Los Angeles for many years when one became ill.
His furious family stole their company, ostracised their stricken son and threw his partner out into the street. The son died alone in the most desperate circumstances, barricaded by anger-filled parents who prevented those who loved him from ever visiting, but who were happy to have their children split up the couple’s property and spend their savings while the courts did nothing.
It was a grotesque injustice that the parents bitterly regretted in years to come.
This was not an uncommon case. There are at least a dozen stories I could tell here that had even more tragic outcomes, including a few that I can’t put down in writing because they’re simply too upsetting, and in a couple of cases too horrific to even be believable.
Today in London, the biggest pride event in the city’s history took place (as I write, it’s still going on – Londoners love a party). It seemed that the whole of the city was taken over with a very inclusive kind of love-parade, one involving singles, couples, families, friends, young and old of every ethnic mix. I have never seen such a diverse and peaceful crowd in my life. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, following the US supreme court on ruling on same-sex marriage.
In years to come I hope this will look like an inconsequential blip in the history of human relations, something so obvious that it scarcely needed reporting on. And yet it was so important not to take this ruling for granted, to make so many people feel that as mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, taxpayers and workers, contributors to society (often in the most extraordinary ways and in heartbreaking circumstances) people of all sexualities were finally respected equally.
In a time when ISIS is attempting to drag the world back into a stone-age state based on primal instinct and violence blurred with a form of modern-day hypocrisy, the American court ruling is an indication that the civilised world is attempting to strive for something higher, kinder, more decent and fair.
The force for a greater good cannot be beaten.