My Thank-You Letter. Or, the Rainbows! They’re Blinding!
Today (well, yesterday now) SCOTUS decided that same-sex couples can legally get married. I was in my house, and Mo texted me the news. That’s how I found out. I got on Facebook and suddenly rainbows were everywhere. In almost every one of my friends’ news feeds, there was celebration and tears of joy – queer folks and allies alike. And oh, the rainbows. They were all over everything all day today, on FB, on Instagram (my two social media-thingies), in tweets by brand names from Macy’s to Starbucks. Regard said tweets here. There’s even a rainbow across the top of WordPress, as I type.
I’ve said this before, so bear with me. When I came out 23 years ago, these rainbows would be nowhere, because this wouldn’t even be in the Supreme Court, because no queer in their right mind would go and ask for a marriage license and risk getting the shit kicked out of them by anyone who found out. Or maybe they did try, but I’m telling you, things were different then. There was no Ellen and no Rachel Maddow being totally out of the closet right there on television. We were scared, because most folks thought we were disgusting. In 1993 my artsy-fartsy boarding high school started its first support group for LGBT folks. We had gotten that far, anyway. There was immediate backlash, from parents and from my fellow students, some of whom turned out some bona fide gay bashing. Like, open taunting, hanging a guy from an upper story window, that kind of thing. There was a particular group of boys that did the worst of it. I personally got followed and jeered at, and another time got followed and pelted with rocks and ice. When i told a trusted teacher that I had been attacked, he just looked uncomfortable and shrugged it off like it wasn’t a big deal. When I told some of my friends, they did the same.
Like I said, I’ve told this story before, but it still feels important to tell this, especially today. In ’93 things sucked for me as a bi girl, and today there are rainbows flying everywhere you look and same-sex couples were granted the right to legally marry, and almost everyone I know supports equal rights for LGBT folks, right out in public. It feels incredibly brave to me to be out of the closet, or to be publicly an ally, because I still haven’t caught up from the 80s and early 90s when being out was incredibly brave. Today my younger friends don’t even blink an eye that I’m partnered with another woman. It’s just not on their radar as anything out of the ordinary. They’re like, you’re gay, yeah, and? Whatevs. Even the neighborhood kids are on board. My kiddo got told by somebody’s visiting cousin that it was gross to have two moms, and her friends told him to shut up. It’s a small thing, but it’s healing. I know it’s not like this everywhere, and everything isn’t roses and cupcakes for queer people. But this whole thing, the rainbows, the pride, the support and activism of allies, the “yeah, and?” attitude of the millennials, is healing. I believe I have finally roamed around to my point. Thank you for the healing, friends. Thank you for today.
[addendum: The next steps in our LGBT journey – stopping violence, ending suicide, paying attention to our marginalized brothers and sisters, passing legislation to protect LGBT people from getting fired – will happen. I’m sure of it now.]