We learn so much about the struggle for equal rights from the African American community. In The Black Generation Gap, published in The Root, Ellis Cose identifies three generational shifts: Fighters, Dreamers, and Believers.

The first generation fought against intolerance and bigotry for basic recognition. The next generation lived into the dream the previous generation created. The third generation let go of the old fights, not longer letting them define their lives. That doesn’t mean the struggle is over, racism (and sexism, and homophobia, and…) will always be with us, but at some point the younger generation moves past the old arguments and into their own lives, no longer defined by the battles of previous generations.

The gay community is struggling with a similar dynamic. The first generation fought for basic rights and recognition, and then we began to live the dream, proud of our hard-earned successes. Now comes a generation that doesn’t care about all that. They barely call themselves gay. It is not that their nature is any different than my generation’s, it is just that we succeeded. We created a world were they can be themselves without living in reaction to the old norms.

Finally, young gay people can start moving on without the old burdens and tired rhetoric my generation had to face. Good stuff, that.

San Francisco Gay Pride Parade 2011 (Preston Grant)