As my husband and I walked away from the Pride festival after a very fun, loving, heart-warming time, a protestor (only one of three at that corner; a surprisingly small number) yelled something at us. I don’t remember what he said, something about souls or hell. My husband engaged.
After some back and forth yelling (we’re still walking away, getting smaller and smaller in his view), the guy’s all, “I’ll pray for your souls!”
Our straight, married-to-the-opposite-sex souls. Our straight souls who love love. We love girls holding hands with girls and boys holding hands with boys. It’s a wonderful thing to see people being themselves, beaming with pride on the one day they’re actually allowed to, roped together into a contained space, paying $5 entrance fees in exchange for the freedom to be their true selves. It makes me feel insanely guilty that my love is legal and their isn’t. For seeing no difference between our love and wondering how anyone could want to exclude people from loving each other.
I met a very intelligent, very handsome new friend at a pre-party for our Pride Festival. About twenty minutes into our conversation, I asked him what I could do, as a straight married woman, to help the cause in Tennessee. He said, “Just what you’re doing. Be here.” And of course, there’s more. Of course there are petitions and legislation and advocacy and rallies and education. But there’s also plain support. Opening arms, understanding, accepting, befriending. Looking at another human’s struggle and recognizing our similarities instead of our differences.
Living in Tennessee sometimes feels like teetering on the edge of a sword. A double-edged sword. The trees are green, the hills are rolling, the rivers are bubbling merrily. People often smile and say hello as you pass, people offer to return your shopping cart for you or wave you to merge in front of them, even in heavy traffic. There is often a feeling of togetherness, a feeling of “we are all humans on earth, kumbaya, here’s a piece of fresh baked apple pie, I’m holding the door open for you, have a nice evening.” And then there’s the don’t say gay bill and other similar legislation. Why do Tennessee lawmakers want this? Why do they want kids in school to feel unloved, unaccepted, confused, and ostracized? Where are the answers? I don’t know why certain people want these laws, but I know that on a case by case basis, no parent would want a child to feel unloved, unworthy, or less than another child.
And now, some quotes on equality:
Hell yeah, Cynthia Nixon:
When women got the vote, they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table. And that is all we want to do; we have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled not only the same privileges but the same responsibilities as straight people.
Oh George Orwell, you dark, demented beast:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
dooce had a great post on taking her daughters to the Salt Lake City Pride Parade. I can only hope that when I have children I am able to so simply, so genuinely show my kids the importance of human rights, of humanity, of love.
Rights are a funny thing. The groups that have all the rights know how important those rights are. They know they’re important enough to keep away from others. There aren’t enough rights, they think, to go around.
But there are! I’m happy that marriage equality has claimed some recent victories with the Supreme Court overturning DOMA, but there’s a long way to go.
Have you typed “marriage equality” into Google? Do it; it’s pretty: