Most of the time, I admit that I take my luck in life for granted. When I came out in High school, my family didn't really even blink an eye. "Oh that's just Gayla!" was commonly heard and while I'm sure they often thought it was "just a phase" they never really gave me a hard time about it.
So it's rather easy to spend 34 years of your life surrounded by love and support and be entirely insulated from the insults, being misunderstood and the down-right HATRED that people can spew at you just because of who you choose to love. Yes...even in Alabama. I was never kicked out, taken to the doctor because something was wrong with me, or hurt because I was gay. I was never told that who I loved or how I chose to live my life was wrong or a sin, even though I am a part of a very southern baptist family and was raised in a church. Hellfire and brimstone was a normal sunday morning brunch dish with a side of guilt...but never for loving and never by my own family.
But as we say in the south, bless the Internets heart, I'm exposed to it on a regular basis now.
Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I can let it roll off my back and ignore it. I can chalk it up to someones belief system and I don't have any issues with them having their own opinions. There have been only a few times in my life when I've reacted to something written online in such a passionate way that it's brought me to tears. This morning happened to be one of them.
The president's support of same sex marriage has sparked tons of debate. Now whether it's a campaign ploy or too little too late doesn't really matter to me one way or another. The fact that he even said it is huge but I'm not that political. I vote with my gut with my brain throwing in a healthy dose of reality but mostly I'm an action person. You support me actually marrying the person I love? Rock on! Now, do something to make it LEGAL. Because otherwise? You're just talking outta your ass.
But this morning while playing on Pinterest someone I follow pinned on of the equal rights posters that's supposedly from Obama's Campaign Headquarters. This one, actually:
I clicked on it just to see it a little better and I was shocked when my eyes ran across these two comments at the very top of the page:
I. Was. FLOORED.
I spent the morning being pissed off about it. I walked away. I stopped looking at pinterest because I didn't wan't to be tempted to reply. And you know what happened? It got increasingly worse. Yes, I was touched by the number of people who spoke up and rallied against this. I was touched by the knowledge that more people than not saw gay marriage as an equality issue and were on the same side.
But it haunted me and nagged at me until I couldn't stand it anymore. With tears in my eyes, I wrote a response:
First, I believe you are all entitled to your own opinions. Doesn't hurt a thing, right?
I happen to be a happily partnered gay woman. I've been with my partner for 5 years, raising 2 happy, well adjusted kids. Comparing my LIFE to that of someone who preys on innocent children in a depraved and unacceptable way by any standard is not only shamefully judgmental, but hurtful. I have no need for any church or religion to recognize my marriage because I have no need to belong to a church or follow organized religion.
What I want is the same rights that my next door neighbor has. I want to know that in 50+ years when my wife is lying in a hospital bed dying, that they'll let me be there to hold her hand. I want to know that my health insurance will cover her if she gets sick or hurt. I want to know that she can sit beside me when we go to our childrens school plays without having to worry that our 11 year old is going to get the crap beat out of her for her mom being gay. I want to know that if something happened to me she'd have the right to draw my social security check. I want to know that if she was lying in a hospital room, hooked to machines and unable to live on her own that I could make the decisions she and I agreed to. I want to know that she can go to the local McDonalds with my father and he doesn't have to worry about getting attacked because his daughter is obviously gay.
You know what I REALLY want?
I want to know how my having the EXACT same rights as you do impacts your MARRIAGE?
Because you're entitled to your beliefs, and you are entitled to your rights. But they END when they are designed for no other reason than to take away mine. I am no threat to your marriage. I am no threat to your religion. I am no threat to your children. I am no threat to your way of mine. But you want to stand in judgement, control my life & deny me the right to be equal.
No, I don't even begin to imagine that it will change the mind of even one of those people who would post something so far beyond the concept of reality. People who have closed their minds and use a religious document that teaches love and forgiveness as a weapon towards others are unwilling to accept other views of reality no matter how many times they are pointed out as truth.
I cannot change the way they feel. I cannot change their minds. I don't have to.
I also don't have to sit there and say nothing. Because this is my reality every day and I choose to live in happiness and not hatred.