Today I spent a good part of the day talking to average Americans across this country who had a lot to say about people like you and I. I don’t know you perhaps but we share commonality being of the LGBT community. You needn’t be of LGBT persuasion to share commonality as we are graced by the love and support of hundreds of thousands of allies from all parts of this country.
I am in a funny place now. I am about to get engaged to a women in 2016 and get married legally. I did the same in 2000 except the wedding wasn’t legal although we made sure it was. In 2000 we were so loud, happy, and proud. We decided to share my last name to make us even that much more of a family to the straight world.
I had no fears and spoke outwardly and constantly about my fiancé and are wedding plans. We went as far as to have a wedding coordinator and it just so happened we ended up using all straight vendors although it would have been great not to have.
Now on the cusp of getting engaged and even sharing a bed at night in 2016 I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel accepted and what I do feel is loathing, and I feel hatred.
Today I heard what hatred sounds like….boy it has many faces and voices and I know I only got to hear a small percentage.
What happened to us and to our rights and freedoms. I am finding out that passing laws doesn’t do a damn bit of good, and through in the right mixture of hatemongering from the religious right and Trump and you have a nation in the midst of not feeling it when it comes to equality including safety for all LGBT people.
It isn’t a Trump Clinton thing-sure maybe there were things that incited bigger flames already smoldering that we were so happy to have marriage equality passed by SCOTUS on June 27, 2016 we let our guards rightly down and we celebrated, we loved, we cried, but we took a breather from the “FIGHT.”
I am a writer, and I chose my words most of the time intentionally. I chose “Fight” because that is what is going on in our country just below the radar so even our gaydar is shit out of luck.
We are not wanted by many. They are angry and think this should be a war. I was either hiding under a rock or more likely enjoying the spoils of the liberal Northeast.
I didn’t see it coming and damn it I am afraid now. I feared nothing until 9/11. Then all of our worlds came crashing down and our freedom from fear was destroyed in seconds. I got used to fearing terrorism, but surely I wasn’t fearful of anything domestically grown.
Today I sit here and I tell you this crazy kick-assed person I am is scared. I am ashamed of my fear. Embarrassed. But there are real reasons I am scared and this engagement in 2016, my true dream come true is quieter and I am careful not to post our pictures. Too much information exists about me. We spend every night together but still have two places. I recently went out and spent thousands on a high tech alarm system to protect us. What the hell is wrong with me? I never worried or cared, never not me. Hell yeah, I am frightened! Have you heard the distain in their voices? I have. Have you seen them look at other members of our beloved LGBTQ community because they dare and are proud to be more visible than me and my friends? Am I being honest in what I just said? NO. I do dress a certain way we all have our own unique styles and I am no different. However, I make sure not to get to close to the edge. You know the edge I am talking about. Like a Saturday morning walk and I reach for my favorite prep school baseball hat and oh opt not to wear it……finding myself doing a lot of that. Not to the point of being less than authentic but not feeling free to be me.
What does our flag and constitution stand for? That’s right, freedoms for each and everyone of us. I don’t feel free to be me in 2016. My heart is heavy, my fists are clenched, and I am braced for something I never thought would happen here in the United States. A land of the free where people who don’t comply are threatened, bullied, pushed out of bathrooms, beaten, and even brutally killed for just being “their me.” Could you ever imagine really bathroom gate like it has gone down? I mean honestly think back a couple years ago; bathroom gate was nowhere in sight.
We, the LGBTQ community and all its allies, had the upper hand and momentum at the time. I mentioned I was married in 2000 at 23. We made a baby and brought our daughter into this world in 2002. We worried about the world and it being safe-in regards to 9/11, not home-grown based hate that only the most provocative and outrageous LGBTQ members faced and dealt with. Yes, I shamefully admit “we fit in” intentionally. We were no different in any way from any straight family in our community, except oh yeah we were two women. Nobody cared, for gosh sakes it was the IN thing. Be LGBTQ or be friends with them, right?
So what happened? I think it is so complicated we might be better not to go there and move collectively into a new revolution where we know #LOVE TRUMPS HATE. We have had such an unravelling of our community, and I haven’t even mentioned Orlando! What the hell was that? No really what was it? Was it Muslim extremists or was it domestic hate? We don’t know! Not knowing is the worst possible case. In speaking to people I was surprised at how combative and willing to fight and show their “real” politically incorrect feelings people were willing to share.
I don’t feel the love outside my Universe I created, and I know most other LGBT members feel the same way. We can get laws passed, like marriage equality, and push for much needed further equality laws for the transgender people, but what good is a freaking law if I can’t hold my fiancé’s hand without worry, or fright? The laws will come. I have no doubts there. But true freedom and tolerance? Sorry, we are a country that grows further from that with every stride forward we take.
I have always been grateful, but could never understand what earlier generations of LGBTQ members did to push our rights forward. I will never understand what they endured, suffered, and lost, for people like you and I to come out without nary a twitch, get married, have a baby, and play house. I never understood their anger at me and my choices. My less then optimum contributions to the “CAUSE.” I get it now, yes I really do. We must all dig deep, come out of our Universes, our comfort zones, our beloved ghettos, and be visible, and damn it be brave.
We can’t let this just “happen” to us. We must muster up and package LOVE into its own weapon against hate. For if we don’t gather ourselves together, we are going to have hollow laws and closets that are filled up again. I see my tiny steps towards the closet. I am ashamed, but I do not want to die. Well neither did all the LGBTQ people who have already died for us want to be killed for loving another person. I realized yesterday, I am letting the fear and hate win and diminish me.
We must do better than I have. We can not be diminished. We must as I vow now be visible and dare to hold our lover’s hand in public. I don’t want to live a half assed life, and right now I am doing just that. I am digging and struggling with the fear and the hate I see and hear and know I am not a fighter by nature. Many of us aren’t. I aim to make peace. Well to get to peace, freedom, and safety we need to arm ourselves with LOVE and fight the fight that stands in front of us.
These are hard times. They are only going to get worse if we do nothing. We must do something. We can not bicker amongst ourselves right now. There is an enemy and it is real.
BORN THIS WAY-2016