More Work Toward Inclusion: A Personal Reflection

Jun 26, 2015

Today, my loving and committed relationship is legally recognized as equal to the same relationships of straight couples in our country.  The first phone call I made when I fully heard the news of this landmark victory was to my partner and soon-to-be husband, Jeff. It was a special moment as I thought about the memories we will build together throughout our lives.  It was a special moment that I knew many other families were sharing at that exact same time.

It is difficult to clearly articulate all of my feelings. I feel validated, loved, and most importantly, energized to continue the movement of not just my relationship being recognized equally before the law, but also for lasting efforts that address barriers to inclusion of LGBTQIA individuals.

After today, gay and lesbian couples will have their marriages recognized in every state. Still in too many states, LGBTQIA youth are facing homelessness and some are even ending their lives. In too many states, LGBTQIA professionals are being harassed and fired from their workplaces. In too many states, trans* people (men, women, and those not in the binary – especially trans women of color) are facing violence visibly and invisibly. In too many states, there are not enough advocates within and outside of the LGBTQIA community that are going beyond advocating for marriage equality and speaking out against other injustices.

I found out about the recent Supreme Court ruling as I was leaving an early morning meeting about the importance of industries taking leadership in supporting young, diverse students in St. Louis. The timing of me hearing the news seems symbolic and meaningful to a critical part of the work that needs to be done.  We need more collective efforts and broader conversations on how to address barriers to inclusion. Today, like many others across the country, I will pause and be thankful to those that have struggled for us to claim this victory in marriage equality. Like many other advocates in our community, I will continue the work of ensuring all LGBTQIA people feel valued, safe, loved and included.


Justin Raymundo


Justin Raymundo
Community Engagement Manager
Diversity Awareness Partnership

(In the picture above, Justin [right] smiles with joy beside his soon-to-be husband, Jeff [left].)