Tragedy laid foundation for social advances

Posted9/13/2021 1:00 AM

This weekend marks the first ever Naper Pride Fest at Naper Settlement, an event of celebration that also coincides with the 20th anniversary of 9/11. So much has changed since then. The stories of the people who persevered past the horrific tragedy help us realize how we are all united in tragedy and inspires us to continue moving forward.

The LGBTQ communities of New York and Washington, D.C., suffered much loss that day, with many losing their partners in the tragedy. The victims' families had their pain heightened in the weeks and years following 9/11 when they realized they were not eligible for the local and federal financial assistance for survivors because their marriages were not legally recognized. It was heart wrenching to learn of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Commission denying claim after claim because the marriages of many of these victims were not recognized as legal. In 2001 -- just 20 years ago -- no state had legalized same-sex marriages.


Through tragedy, though, many in our country began to truly understand the impact of not recognizing same-sex marriages. The years following led to movements throughout the country so that today, same-sex marriages are legal in all 50 states. We still have many things to work on as a country, as a state and as a community, but from these ashes, we have grown and will continue to grow.

State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr


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