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Staying Strong for the LGBT Community

Gallagher+%28left%29+with+two+friends+soon+after+President+Obama+designated+the+Stonewall+National+Monument%2C+which+commemorates+the+birth+of+the+modern+gay+civil+rights+movement.
Gallagher (left) with two friends soon after President Obama designated the Stonewall National Monument, which commemorates the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement.

Gallagher (left) with two friends soon after President Obama designated the Stonewall National Monument, which commemorates the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement.

Gallagher (left) with two friends soon after President Obama designated the Stonewall National Monument, which commemorates the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement.

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Joe Gallagher, a practicing lawyer in New York, grew up in a large, Irish-Catholic family in Connecticut. Although he knew he was gay when he was a young adolescent, he openly came out as gay when he was 21 years old. In 1999, Gallagher transferred from Catholic University in Washington DC to New York University.

He found that being an openly gay man in New York was less complicated than being gay at Catholic University, where the environment was not as accepting. Gallagher was studying musical theatre at NYU, when he met his first boyfriend who studied in the theatre program. “It was an exciting time in New York,” Gallagher said.

After feeling more comfortable being open about his sexuality, he began to talk about the fact that he was gay with his friends and family. Hiding his sexuality until college was very hard, but he felt if he would’ve come out in high school he would have experienced teasing and bullying. “Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of now that I look back,” Gallagher said.

18 years later, a lot has changed. Given that Trump is president, Gallagher is most concerned for LGBT people who aren’t economically secure, people who identify as transgender, and people who are too frightened to come out. During the first two months of 2017, seven transgender women have been killed, and Trump’s administration has already removed legal protection for the trans-community. “This is so scary,” Gallagher said. “I think they chose this community to attack because they’re the most vulnerable and the least equipped to fight back.”

Gallagher does not feel he is as in danger, because he is a white male living in New York City.  “I have been afforded protection against Trump simply by being white and male,” Gallagher said. “That seems to be the only group of people for whom Trump has any respect. It is disgusting.”

Supporting the LGBT community is something very important to Gallagher. He worries that the gay people who have been sidelined by the economic policies for the last 30 years will not speak out for their rights. Gallagher is a confident gay man, yet he worries for people who aren’t stable like he is, these people will not  be able to fight for their rights without support. He tries to give as much support as he can to the LGBT community.  Gallagher tries his best to educate people about their rights and privileges as being gay. He has come a long way from the anxious college freshman he once was.

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