Thursday, March 28, 2013

It Takes One to Know One - Marriage Equality in New York State (a re-post from June, 2011)

I've come to blog here the past several days attempting to say something that hasn't already been said. I've spent quite a bit of time calling Senators, asking all my friends to call Senators, reading other blogs, posting comments, participating in certain threads where my time could have been better spent smashing my head into a brick wall, etc. You get the point.

The long and short of it is this.

There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said on various Senators personal Facebook pages (Senator Dean Skelos, Senator Greg Ball), or on The Huffington Post comment section of Sarah's Op-Ed, "My Children Have Everything...Except Married Parents.

I've read many inspiring posts from people all over New York who are in favor of Equality. And, unfortunately, I've read some posts from people against Equality. Thankfully, the posts against Equality are outnumbered, at least on the places I'm surfing the web (which are all the places I've listed above).

Usually the anti-equality posts are religiously fueled, and more often than not contain grammatical and spelling errors...I'm just saying. And I've yet to read a single post from that side of the argument that is strong enough to deny any human being their civil rights.

What those posts against Equality have done for me, however, is they've reminded me of what it was like growing up gay.

I've said it before, and I meant it, I didn't realize I was gay until I was nineteen. My brain couldn't even internalize the thought of being gay, that's how abhorent a concept it was for me. I buried it so deep down that I never once had a conscious inkling of it until I was in college.

I learned to fear being gay from the world I lived in. Nobody ever told me directly, "Kristen, don't be gay. It's a very bad thing." Yet, the noxious homophobic gas pumped into our society's air that I was breathing in on a daily basis made me know for sure that it was a really really bad thing to be.

I knew it.

You knew it.

And some people still think it.

So I'd like to share this story from my childhood with all the people who are posting against Equality. Even though I know none of you read my blog. This is my attempt to say something that hasn't already been said - or - This is me bashing my head against a brick wall again. Here goes:

Dear People Unwilling to Give Me My Equal Rights,

When I was growing up I was a tom boy.

Every kid has "their" reason for why they feel different. The kid with the acne, the kid with the hair that's too curly, the too fat kid, the too skinny kid, the kid with the thick glasses, the poor kid, and on and on.

Anyway. I was the kid who felt awkward every time my girlfriends wanted to do girly things. I didn't want to wear makeup or carry a Le Sports Sac. I wasn't comfortable with designer jeans, or leg warmers, or capezios. Every day I wore my Lee Jeans and Pro-Keds. That was my uniform, day in and day out. While it doesn't sound that bad, every day I got dressed I thought about how different I felt.

I know. Whoopeeding. I wasn't picked on. I would have picked on you first. And I wasn't bullied. I would have bullied you first. Think about that for a second, anti-equality person posting on the internet.

I was an athlete. I loved sports. I played every season. I lived for it.

One season, my high school coach was a lesbian. We didn't know this because she was "out." We knew this because she looked like a dyke - I'm just going to use the word. She was very stereotypically lesbian looking in every way.

She threatened me to my core.

But I was 15 years old and I had coping mechanisms in place to be sure I was not affected by her existence at all.

What I did was write a "funny jingle" for everyone on the team to sing. It was a song about how gross and abhorent our scary lesbian coach was. And I would sing it.

The memory is so overwhelming for me that it stops me dead in my tracks. Fifteen year old me felt I had to sing a song about the grossness of my lesbian coach so that my teammates, and I for that matter, wouldn't catch on that I was a lesbian too.

Fear. Breeds. Intolerance. Fear. Breeds. Hatred. Fear. Breeds. Bullies.

Much worse things have come from fear than a really bad jingle sung in a high school locker room.

We have an opportunity to alleviate some of the fear that maybe your fifteen year old son or daughter or niece or nephew or neighbor might feel one day. That alone should be enough reason to vote for Equality.


No comments:

Post a Comment