I’m sitting in the cold with my snoring puppy curled under my elbow, watching a Facebook diologue between my old friend from Maine and several of his friends, all closely watching the results come in on the hated Proposition 1, to overturn Maine’s new same-sex marriage law. My friend is in a “straight” relationship (in quotations because I don’t know how he identifies). In fact, all my Mainer friends, with whom I have reconnected via Facebook, are straight (or possibly bi and in straight relationships, which wouldn’t surprise me), and most of them have been working HARD on the No on 1 campaign.
I have not been too actively involved in the same-sex marriage issue. The day my sister called me from Maine, my home state, and excitedly told me they had just legalized it, a door opened for me. But only a little. I still haven’t been that active. But seeing this, my straight friends fighting for my equal rights, their shouts for justice on my behalf – makes me wonder – why haven’t I stood up for my own equal rights?
For the past twenty years I’ve known I’m queer, and have joyously and unashamedly lived it. I’ve spent the last 10 years with a woman I love desperately, unequivically, deeply and truly. It may sound corny, but it’s true: I love the person. Certainly her gender identity and expression is beautiful as well, but seriously, Melissa could be a man and I would be happy – so long as he was still … well, Melissa. Although my pansexual identity did possibly afford me a certain privilege (in that if I wanted the easy path, I could technically have just “gone straight” and would have been perfectly happy), in my marriage to Melissa I have given up that safety net. Not only am I married, ie. totally committed till years and years of fruitless therapy do us part, to a woman, but she’s a brown woman at that. An Arab, no less. Of Axis of Evil infamy. And we have one kid who’s Arab/European, and one kid who’s Arab/African. Hey Melissa, lets be a walking target for bigotry and hatred! Doesn’t that sound FUN? I’m rambling, aren’t I?
Why haven’t I stood up? Because for the past ten years, having essentially given up my – bi privilege? what the hell would you call it? – and having witnessed Melissa in her struggle as a person of color, and having witnessed the nasty looks my black god daughter’s white moms have gotten, and having recognized bigotry in my own heart … I have come to feel that there’s no hope for change.
Somewhere in Washington a president is having a very bad dream right now about a working poor, queer mother in an inter-cultural, multi-racial family feeling like there’s no hope for change. No we can’t, she’s saying sadly. He’s trying to jog over to her to tell her “Yes We Can”, but he can’t catch his breath, and he’s damning those cigarettes to HELL.
Come on, Maine. Come on.