Shortly last Thursday after my morning sociology class, I head down to the T station nearby to catch the green line into Boston. (Let me say I’m so glad that the T is operating because just a couple weeks ago it was not working.) I’m terrible at directions and I usually rely on my husband or friend when it comes to traveling anywhere I’m not familiar with. But I’ve managed just fine getting to the stop that I needed to be. That day we had an important interview with a person who works at the non-profit organization GLAD. Each group in class was given an assignment to check out an organization that was chosen by the professor and it was our responsibility to meet with someone that would be willing to show us around the organization as well as give us an interview that was work related about themselves. GLAD is an organization that provides legal advocacy for Gays, Lesbians, Transgender, and those affected by HIV and AIDS.
Two other classmates and I were greeted by, a gentlemen named Bruce. He was extremely pleasant to speak with. He told us that a young lawyer at the time named John Ward founded GLAD in 1978. The reason behind it was in 1978 there was actually a sting operation at the Boston Public Library with men soliciting other men for sex. The Boston Police Department decided to have officers dressed in regular clothes and try to soliciting other men. The gay community was outraged as they felt they were being targeted. John Ward made this his first case and it went to court where he won. John Ward felt that the BPD was trying to entrap them.
Bruce also told us that in 1983 GLAD launched a project for those living with HIV and AIDS. Apparently a Boston Hospital was refusing to treat those living with this deadly disease. During this time GLAD fought for the rights of the people who had been affected by this. The case ended up going to the Supreme Court. This was the first for GLAD. Because of this, is why HIV/AIDS are a part of the American Disabilities Act.
On a personal note: my father was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 or 92, and even though my father wasn’t gay, GLAD helped my father by making sure they he received all of his medical treatment by them winning that case. Before he passed away in 1994 he was in and out of the hospitals a lot. It is remarkable how people you don’t even know can some how make a positive influence in your life, even if its just trying to help. GLAD only takes on cases that will not just affect one person; it has to affect the masses.
One of the most significant cases that GLAD has won was the right to marry in Massachusetts. Other states have used GLAD’s “blueprint” to win the right to marry in other states. That’s why today there are 37 states where gay couples can legally marry.
I know that currently or recently anyway that the state of AIabama didn’t want to issue licenses to those who were gay, even though technically it was legal for them to marry. I also understand that there are people who may disagree with gay marriage, but I don’t understand how what a gay person’s marriage affects straight peoples marriages?
Anyway, the whole experience was really awesome and I felt like I learned more. I may even volunteer at their organization. For anyone reading this that would like to know more about GLAD please visit: www.glad.org and to learn more about their history and the cases they have taken on please visit: http://www.glad.org/history