It’s been at least two years since I last blogged. I haven’t been inspired to write anything, and often wonder if blogging is some form of self-indulgence. I suppose it’s a bit of both (inspiration and self-indulgence), and I honestly don’t know if anyone will read what I write. For me this is a bit cathartic and allows me to put my thoughts out there without putting them on Facebook, or linking to what I have to write.
I suppose it’s self-indulgence, but I feel it’s something I need to put out in the universe and whomever reads this post, reads this post…
It’s been just over a year since the election and I continue to think about the ramifications of the election, not because one person won or because the other lost. It’s around what it means to vote and the stand we take every time we step into the voting booth and cast a ballot. This election was significant for me, as it was the first time that the choice was clear. It was my ability to stand up and vote. This last election, for me was about my rights and my ability to marry. Many people saw my many posts on Facebook, or read the things that Jeff wrote, or responses one of us had when someone came back with this or that retort. Over the course of the past year people have un-friended us on Facebook, some people have just gone back to “status quo.” Some were insulted and hurt and spouted hateful vitriol at me, called me a bully and then there were those that asked forgiveness and after some struggles came to understand.
Here’s the thing, and I find this pretty black and white. When you sign documents and build into your platform that my rights, who I am and whom I love is wrong and I should not be allowed to have this basic right, that I shouldn’t be able to marry the person I love you don’t get my vote. If you support me and support my rights and want to see change you would withhold your vote as well. This is standing up and making a difference.
What does it mean to tolerate? When you tell me you support me, but only in private and only when it’s convenient. That’s tolerance. When someone spouts hatred and vitriol out of one side of their mouth and out of the other side talks about the gay friend they have is what I consider tolerance. Here’s the thing… I am done being tolerated. You either support me or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. The only way to affect change is to tell these people that you don’t get my vote. You don’t get my support and you don’t get my money. This is acceptance and this is what it means to affect change. When you talk to these people (when given the opportunity) and all you can say is that you can agree to disagree I’m not being supported. It’s all OK when we are together, but when faced with the choice some times the more difficult path is what makes change happen. Walking away from a conversation with someone running for office and not withholding your vote and letting him or her know that they don’t get your vote, because they don’t support something that you have stated you do support doesn’t affect change. It just tells these people that there are no consequences for their actions.
Some people see things differently. Most people that want to argue this point don’t know what it’s like, nor have they made any effort to understand. Let me spell it out with thoughts that go through my head, that I can almost ensure don’t go through those people that are in heterosexual relationships. I will follow that up with a story that might just bring this all into context.
When I walk down the street with my husband we don’t hold hands. We don’t necessarily appear to be a couple (although that’s tough, because just looking at us look at each other kind of gives it away). We fear screams from cars, or that person or group of people walking towards us that might want to bash us. Sure it may sound silly, but it’s real. It happened in NYC over and over just last year. It’s happened to me. There’s nothing worse then having trash thrown at you from a moving a car while people shout “FAG,” and “QUEER” out the window. You see, these people that you support, but talk about wanting to change from the inside perpetuate this behavior through their words, actions and those organizations they support. Try walking in my shoes for a week. Try understanding what it means to be ridiculed everyday in the news. Look at the experience from the people that state we have the ridiculous power over the weather. Most people don’t understand what it’s like seeing the commercials or TV shows that address bullying. Every time I see one I get emotional and remember the years of bullying and name-calling. I don’t call this out for sympathy, I tell you this to maybe help you understand at least a little about what it was like.
Finally a story: On November 9 Jeffrey and I were finally able to get married. After 21 years against all odds SCOTUS nullified Prop 8. It was a small victory in a war on discrimination. Despite the vitriol and hatred that continues to be spewed we will overcome. Here’s the thing, On November 12, Jeffrey hand delivered our marriage license to the courts. We were so excited we wanted to make sure that it arrived safely and correctly. Five weeks later we received the marriage license back, because the last number in the zip code of one of our witnesses was illegible to the person reviewing (it was clear to us). This was frustrating, as it required more money and the person that married us to sign an affidavit. Jeffrey called the clerks office only to discover that this was a method used by certain clerks to prolong the process and make it more difficult for same sex couples. They have seen a higher number of marriage licenses returned if it’s clear that the couples are of the same sex (Jeffrey and Richard are clearly two men). It’s been more than two months since we were married and we are still waiting for our marriage license. Be outraged, be upset, but don’t just use your words. Take action. Do something different and take a contrary action.
You see, when you tell me that you are changing things from within, or that voting for that candidate that supports discrimination what you are saying to me is that you tolerate me, that there are more important things than my basic human rights. The only way I know to see this kind of change is to make a stand. Whether it’s not eating at Chik-fil-a or not voting for that candidate that doesn’t support my freedoms. Don’t do this because you want me to think you support me, even though it’s inconvenient for you. (Some one was annoyed that they couldn’t eat a chicken sandwich, because they wanted to appear to support me).
We live in a country where we are free to vote for and purchase from whomever or wherever we choose. This is one of the many great things about this country. At the end of the day I really don’t have too much concern about whom you vote for or where you spend your money. But, don’t tell me that you support me, don’t insult me with your comments of support, when you aren’t willing to stand up or do something courageous. You may tolerate me, and you may even believe that you support me. Just know that I can’t abide by the cognitive dissidence any longer.
I suppose this is more self indulgent than anything else. :)