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I’ve spent the last hour sitting in Joe Van Gogh, a great coffee shop on campus, refilling on coffee every thirty minutes or so in an effort to stay awake.  I’m supposed to be staying awake writing a paper—I have four BIG papers due within the next two weeks. Yet instead, I’m browsing facebook.
I went on quickly, to put up a link on my status for the fantastically beautiful Keith Olbermann video, but my eye was caught by yet another status update of excitement about the passing of Proposition 8. It read: “ Jessica is we are not taking away their “rights” they already have them this is about the institution of traditional marriage!” The girl who wrote it was a friend of mine in college, my R.A.’s roommate my freshman year. Read the rest of this entry »

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These are polarizing times. We as a gay, lesbian, and bisexual community have been dealt a painful blow and we are looking for someone to blame. Even as we are gathering together nightly in overwhelming displays of solidarity and unity, we are also pointing fingers every which way. Cries go out: blame a particular ethnic minority; blame a particular church; blame the organizers of the no on 8 campaign. But the sad truth is, over 5 millions individuals went to the polls last week and cast a vote to revoke our rights. While it is certainly arguable that they should have never had the opportunity to do that in the first place, that is what happened, and that is what they did. And while they might have come with various racial and religious affiliations, they also came as individuals. Individuals who, in all likelihood, all know at least one of us in some capacity, whether they are aware of it or not. And so, while it is tempting to paint a portrait of what should happen next with broad, sweeping strokes (i.e: challenge the tax-exempt status of the Morman church, change the views of specific racial minorities, etc), I see it more as pointillism.  Each of the two million or so estimated GLBT people here in California exist in small, overlapping social circles where we have the opportunity to bring to light our humanity, our love, and our quest for equality. We must each engage in the difficult work of having conversations. Yes, we will eventually wage more political campaigns, and I am sure there will be countless more demonstrations, but in the meantime, we are left with conversations. Conversations with our friends, our families, our coworkers; with people in stores and people on the streets. Conversations about who we are (i.e: people in loving, committed relationships), who we aren’t (i.e: a threat to kindergartens, a threat to churches), and who we hope to become (i.e: people who have regained the opportunity to legally marry). I am no idealist; I know this won’t change everyone’s mind. How could I think that when even my best friend of 7 years told me two weeks ago that she still wasn’t sure how she would vote on Prop 8? But I cannot help believing that it will change some minds…built some bridges…put a few dots of color on a painting whose final image we are not yet even able to envision.

We as a community seem to be alternating between devastation and numbness. Words fail me. How do you describe what it is like to have your state vote against your marriage…. against your entire community’s beautiful, beautiful marriages? For some reason, the sadness there is so deep it seems as though words would not even do it justice.

And so, instead, I would like to write about our marching. Because, while they seem to have imagined that taking away our right to marry would just make us shut up and disappear, it has done quite the opposite. Last night, an estimated 5,000-10,000 of us gathered in Los Angeles to show the world that we are still here. We took to the streets to look in the faces of the people who voted to take away our marriage rights, and were surprised to find those people largely missing. Whoever they were, they certainly weren’t around last night. Instead, by and large, the thousands of citizens we encountered greeted us with high fives and friendly honks. Even the police blocked traffic to allow us to pass peacefully through they streets of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. Perhaps they suspected that our tentative hopefulness could easily turn to rage. That our chants of solidarity and determination were preferable to any other way we might have expressed our wide array of emotions surrounding the news of our deep loss. Whatever their reasoning, I am grateful. It was surprisingly healing to be able to stand up in front of my state and say… We will not be silenced. We will not disappear. We will not give up. And we will not even allow you to crush our spirits. You may spit on us, you may take away something we consider to be core to our humanity, and you may cover our community in tears, but still, like dust, like air, like love itself…we rise.

And so, I am left with an unquenchable desire to continue taking to the streets and marching. I’d march this state from border to border if I thought it might make a difference, carrying on the chants we shouted throughout Los Angeles last night: “What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!!” Who’s with me?