Over the years, I have met Prime Ministers, Presidents, major movie stars and a series of brave and courageous people who names are unknown. Never have I been more excited than the other night when I met our beloved Edie Windsor. She did not disappoint her many fans.
The New York Center held its 30th Anniversary dinner on Saturday night (April 13) and unlike most similar evenings it was magical. They had chosen to honor two remarkable human beings in Edie Windsor and Terrence Meck. The Center knew that they had a special moment for the community and they did not disappoint the well over 700 in the room. They kept the evening brief, informative and inspiring. If only organizations all could follow their model.
That is where I met Edie.
Let's face it, the LGBT community is so damn lucky to have her as face of this epic battle for full equality. She is smart, poised, funny and looks like everyone's mother. Edie is gracious in her time with those who she has inspired and passionate about her journey and case before the Supreme Court.
Like Rosa Parks who refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, Edie Windsor has shown the same kind of courage. When her beloved wife, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009 after over 40 years of being together, Edie was totally heart broken. In the mist of her grief, the government said that their relationship was not a real one and taxed her $363,000 on the estate. No straight married couple would have had to pay this 'LGBT Tax'!
Instead of becoming a victim, she sued her government and fought back. Through court after court Edie's powerful story of discrimination won and with each victory her legend has grown around the world. The entire world was watching when her case reached the Supreme Court. The power of one individual determined to be free creating change was proven with Edie.
At the dinner, I approached her with caution but suddenly she was not surrounded by people. I slowly went up and introduced myself and expressed my deep admiration and gratitude. She made my night by reaching up and hugging me and saying 'thank you David, without you I would have never done it." Her gracious and kindness in the moment not only made my year but suddenly made my journey have value.
That is Edie. She constantly gives joy and hope to others. She has honored Thea by honoring us with her fight, determination and love of justice. Thank you Edie. Thank you from all of us
(Thanks to Joe Jervis of JoeMyGod for the photograph)