While advocates say these are huge milestones on the road to equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, OutFront Minnesota, a leading LGBTQ organization, says there's still work to be done.
Over the last 18 months, OutFront Minnesota has been crafting a new strategic plan and launched it this past week during the Equality Federation's Summer Meeting, an annual conference attended by more than 150 LGBTQ movement leaders, including state-based and national advocates working for equality all across the country.
OutFront's goals for its strategic plan include continuing to actively engage supporters from throughout Minnesota in the movement for LGTBQ equality, and advocating for LGBTQ-positive policies, benefits, laws, ordinances and judicial decisions, on the state, local and corporate levels.
OutFront said its goals are for LGBTQ Minnesotans to feel safe to come out, are accepted and embraced by their families, are welcome at their schools, at their workplaces and in their faith communities, have access to equitable health care coverage, have jobs that pay a living wage and can live openly without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination.
As part of the strategic planning process, staff and board members interviewed close to 100 leaders and community members across the state about what is next in the movement for LGBTQ equality. Based on these conversations, OutFront will be focusing future works primarily on youth, people of color, transgender justice, faith and LGBTQ elders.
The organization said it has a three-year financial commitments of at least $1,000 per year from 15 donors who strongly believe in the group's vision.
"We know that freedom cannot be measured only in policies and laws," said Monica Meyer, OutFront Minnesota executive director. "It must also be measured by the experiences LGBTQ people have in our daily lives – interacting with family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers and members of our faith communities. We have momentum on our side. And, working with champions of equality throughout Minnesota, I know we will make this a reality."