April 2018

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


When I came out to my family twenty years ago (golly, I'm gettin' old), I did not imagine that Ann and I would ever have the state and federal benefits of marriage. In fact, I did not imagine that I would ever marry again: saying "yes for the rest of my life" seemed like a promise that I did not know myself well enough to say.

In response to my coming out letter, Sister Jen sent me an envelope full of newspaper and magazine articles about famous people like Ellen Degeneres coming out. On the outside of the envelope, she wrote, "You're hot."

I've not often been called hot, unless it's been me in recent years during a hot flash, so the message was particularly inspiring. Sister Jen's notes reminding me of all those people coming out helped me not feel so alone, so abnormal. 

The change towards gay and lesbian people in our country has, it seems to me, moved at an overwhelming speed. My peeps and I wonder aloud how things have changed so fast during our life-times and why other social justice movements have not gained such quick gains.

We make guesses that having so many people come out has meant that many Americans know someone who is gay. I have gone further, noting that because gay and lesbian people are sometimes in families with privilege has made the movement faster than, say, social justice movements for people who are in prison or immigrants. 

This morning on NPR, I heard a "log cabin Republican," a gay man who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive, argue that making connections within both the Democratic and the Republican parties has been key. 

I am stunned about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA, even as I am aware that for too many people--those who are poor; immigrants to the US; our bisexual and (especially) transgendered brothers and sisters--this decision will not bring peace and justice.

Right now, I have only a vague notion of the practical effects of the decision for Ann and me--effects that I know are more significant because of my disabilities. The impact right now is an emotional one: I feel like a full citizen in my country. 

In discussing coming out, someone told me a long time ago that once his mother found out he was gay, he didn't care who else knew. There's so much truth in that sentiment for me: most important to me in these years of discrimination has been a family that has loved me throughout.

To my loving family and to others like them, I say, whatever your political philosophies may be, thanks for loving us in this time when our relationships have been in such public limbo. Your ongoing love means even more than today's decision--and that's saying a lot.

That love made this decision possible. 

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