June 26, 2013
It’s my birthday today. I’m 31. Yikes.
And I had just finished breakfast this morning, in the kitchen of a friend I’m visiting, when we got the news, just after 10:00 AM, of the Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, and shortly thereafter, Proposition 8.
I remember being a teenager, sitting at my own kitchen table, at breakfast time, in the house where I grew up, reading the news about DOMA’s passage. I wasn’t all that attentive to what went on in politics or the world at that time, I didn’t know things I do now about my own identity, and I didn’t think I knew any gay, trans, or queer people. I still believed some things about sexuality and morality then that I don’t anymore and am not particularly proud of to look back on.
But I remember reading about it in the morning paper and being so sad. Something about it just profoundly didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t think of another instance within my own lifetime in which a law had been passed for the deliberate and express purpose of depriving a specific group of people of rights or protections. And based on very little except the perception by the majority that they were simply the wrong kind of people, or willfully deviant–a burden which I had always felt, though for different and at the time unnameable reasons.
And no matter what I felt about homosexuality, I couldn’t believe that that was right.
It was part of a long pattern, that I identified with the wrong people in the given narrative.
I honestly didn’t think it would be so soon–though of course it’s been more than long enough for a lot of people who have suffered under the consequences of this law–that I’d get to look back on that day with a bittersweet happiness.
The world does change when people persistently stand up for what is right. We are capable of making the world kinder and fairer.
Remind people of this day, tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, when they tell you any version of the lie that we can’t make the world safer by standing up for each other, or that it’s better to just keep your head down, fit in, and not speak up for justice or piss off anyone in authority, because the world never changes. It’s people with a vested interest in the world never changing who keep telling that lie.
(Edit: I hit publish on this, and then realized that I hadn’t come up with a title, but when I went back to edit one in, I thought that the date was kind of title enough. DOMA: 1996-2013. RIP.)