Last Friday morning at the ass crack of dawn I got on a bus to go to New York to see two shows, take a workshop, and scope out my new apartment. I am horrible to travel with; as soon as I get on a plane or bus I pass out. So, about an hour outside the city I woke up drooling with a slight headache. My eyes were half shut as I opened Facebook to see my notifications and there it was... Gay Marriage is Legal! I just looked at my phone stunned. I immediately said to myself “this is a joke”. I didn't believe it. So I opened Huffington Post and the headline read “Gay Marriage is Legal in All 50 States...” or something like that. I was still stunned. Actually, I felt numb. Numb in my body and in my mind. I knew that there had been a lot of press about the court's decision but I was expecting the same verdict, I think, everybody else was - let states fight this battle out on their own. I really thought that I would never see same sex marriage validated and legalized anytime soon. Maybe in 20 years or so it. After the initial shock wore off, I felt something burst and I started to weep. I wept for the next half hour curled up into a ball in the very back of the bus, alone. Then, when the calm set in, I felt joy like I have not experienced in a very long time. Not just excitement, but joy. The kind of joy that bubbles deep inside. I posted on Facebook "We won." Yes we did. And I cannot tell you how it felt to get off the bus in New York City on the cusp of Gay Pride weekend that day. There absolutely was no other place to be but New York on such a momentous celebration. I posted this pic with pride and declared victory. I also said I would party like it's 1999... again.
Walking through the streets of New York after having my existence validated as a free human being in this country made me feel light as a feather. All the physical stress and strain I felt, such as injuries, seemed to disappear. I felt invincible just for a few minutes. The joy just kept growing and growing all the way through Sunday during the parade. I felt blessed and lucky to be standing on the right side of history. But now everything has changed. Even though I was celebrating, in the back of my mind I knew that the backlash would follow. I chose to ignore it, like everybody else, and tried to just be happy for the weekend. But it didn't take even 24 hours for the hatred to rear its ugly head. When I got home on Sunday night I crashed and when I woke up on Monday morning to see the aftermath. It was pretty real. It is upsetting and I have made social commentary on all of it on my Facebook profile (which is public if you want to follow it). I asked the question "is gay marriage the straw that will break the conservatives backs?" It kind of seems so, and it is scary to me because this concerns my rights as an American. Shit started creeping into my feed that was homophobic. And so I wrote this epic status:
"EPIC MOTHER FUCKING STATUS:
I have really thought about what I am about to say. And it hurts me. And it might hurt you too.
I have decided to take a serous stand on my beliefs and convictions spiritually and politically. I know there are a lot of NICE people in this world and you might be one of them. But I am going to ask any one of you who DO NOT accept marriage equality to please unfriend me. I don't need your tolerance. I am also not just some fucking clown that writes funny Facebook statuses. I'm the real thing. A human being with feelings. You see... you can not say you love me... you care about me... support me... "like" my posts and rants... and at the same time not embrace me as a completely equal citizen of the United States of America free to pursue justice and liberty... to pursue happiness. If your religion or morality does not allow you to free yourself of this homophobia I don't want you following my shit. Not that you do not deserve to, I prefer you do not.
Now that was harsh. But I am not apologizing for taking this stand. I think all my Facebook friends that feel the same way I do should also make this declaration, or share this status. To you who will be unfriending me I am not sending you away with a "Go Fuck Yourself." Or a classic Philip Deal "Kiss My Ass." I am actually really hurt inside. But the point is we do not share the same values and I only want to associate and be friends with people who believe in the right for Gays to be equal under law and have marriage like everybody else. I am saying this the nicest way I know how, and not out of anger. Thank you for understanding.
and again I had to write this:
"Today I took a violent stand against homophobia. I will not tolerate hate in my feed. I have what... 800 friends? I do not want to see one anti gay, anti black, anti jew, message showing up in my feed. You might not belong to the KKK... but your anti freedom posts make it clear we should not be friends. So once more I say to you...
If you are confused or against gays getting married unfriend me. If you are a racist and can not grasp the meaning of Black Lives Matter unfriend me. If you are anti Jew or Israel and find it funny to post bigoted memes on my feed... unfriend me. I don't want to be your friend... I don't want you following my shit. I hope I got the point across.
So long... farewell... I hope we never meet in person."
You find out real quick who your friends are. I remember one time I was added to a private Facebook group that was supposed to be "politically incorrect" and funny. The only jokes that were being posted were rape jokes and racist jokes. I thought it was disgusting so I left the group. I am asking myself now why didn't I blast those people at the time? Well, frankly, it wasn't directed at gays. At the time rape and black jokes offended me but not enough to tell all those crackers to go FUCK THEMSELVES. And now I feel the same way about my friends who see this stuff passing through their feed. They are not gay, so even if they are offended, I think a lot of them will scroll past it. That's just the truth and if it's you I am not mad at you because, like I said, I did the same.
I have been keeping track of the homophobic memes that are being posted on people's profile pictures that decided to use the rainbow feature Facebook offered, which actually was a social experiment. I'm pretty shocked at a lot of what I saw, and probably because I have been so liberal for so long and surrounded by liberals, that this turned my stomach. It was not until this past week that I had time to grieve the emotional pain and suffering I have experienced in my life over the issue of Gay Marriage. I am actually divorced from a man. So I guess I will tell my story.
After my partner and I came out of the closet, Canada had passed gay marriage. At the time, Vermont had civil unions, Massachusetts had not yet legalized gay marriage. So we went to Canada to get hitched and we had our commitment ceremony back in Virginia, and it was elaborate. Like straight people, the day I got married was one of the happiest days of my life. Josh and I eventually parted ways and it took years to get a divorce. I had to move to MA and be a resident for one year before ether one of us could file for divorce. He did, and the day I went to the court house and finalized it in front of the judge was one of the worst days of my life. After I came out of the court room I held it together long enough to exit the building and find an ally way to melt down in. I dropped to my knees and wept for a half hour. Then I texted Josh. So I have experienced, like straight people, the joy of being married and the pain of being divorced. With 100% the amount of stress and torture the process is. Gay marriage played a very large part of my life personally and in my activist days. And I did give up. At some point in time, after fighting for equality, I stopped trying at about the age of 29. I didn't care anymore. I went numb. There was no point and I felt the pessimism that many gay rights activist felt after so many defeats. The complacency. And now I realize that I didn't actually go numb I just internalized the sorrow.
This is a pic of me and my ex-husband, who now also lives in NYC, that historical Friday night. And to be honest there was no other person I wanted to see more that day than him. We had a rocky marriage. We were young. I made a lot of mistakes. We grew past it but it was painful and had a long healing process. He came to see AERA with me and I introduced him to my friends. And in the Taxi ride back to Body & Pole we held hands and I laid my head on his shoulder. We went through hell together and somehow ended up on the other side still alive and successful in our separate lives. But we share a bond nobody will ever understand except other gay men and women who had to go through the same legal process as we did. Today I feel gratitude. But I also have fear. Fear that there will be more hate crimes now. That the racists, the homophobes, and the woman-haters are going to come back at us with a vengeance. I'm scared. But I live in Mass now and will be moving to NYC in September. I live in a part of the country that is somewhat tolerant of gays. See, I used the word tolerant, not embracing, because I feel that most people do not embrace us, they just won't kill us. Now entire states are halting issuing marriage licenses to anybody. And now protecting religious freedom will be the counter argument. People who work as clerks with a Christian upbringing and refuse to acknowledge gay marriage are put between a rock and a hard place. What are we going to do? I don't know because I do not think anybody knows, and we are scared, all of us - straight and gay. We are entering a new period of American history. We have to write our history now. My only suggestion is for the American people to sit down and shut up and look at these other countries that have faced the same problems of integrating gay marriage into society. The problem is Americans are trigger happy and there is a lot of hate. I have always wanted to read out loud a passage from a book called "How I Learned To Snap" By Kirk Read... I did that today. I did it because of where I am in my life now and this book helped to bring back memories:
So to my LGBT brothers and sisters I say to you... Please be safe.
If you enjoyed this blog post and like my Facebook feed please help fund my journey to New York City. Any amount helps even $10. I am pursuing my dream to become a writer and blogger. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.