What do we want? EQUALITY! When do we want it? NOW!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse.  I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Me and my new friend from the Westboro Baptist Crazyhouse. I liked her signs SO MUCH that I decided to take a picture with her!

Posted by TERESA

I have returned from Washington DC after having spent the night and participated in the National Equality March!  I stayed with ELLYS in her new apartment (with her fabulous roomie, Jackie) that I now covet SO HARD.  Seriously, if there were a way for me to magically transport her place to Astoria (and pay the same rent), I totally would.  Alas, I don’t want to move to DC, so awesome and less expensive places like that remain out of reach…  Anyway, it was so great to hang out with Ellys.  It was the first time we’d really hung out just the two of us – she’s good people, that one.

I’m so glad I decided to participate in this march.  It’s the kind of thing that I always want to do, but always find an excuse not to.  This time, even though I was exhausted from a really difficult week, I decided to go.  And because I went, four other people (namely, Ellys, Jackie, and their friends, Christine and Michael) decided to march, too!  That’s all it takes, sometimes.  No one ever wants to be the first person to do anything, but very often, if you’re willing to take that first step, people will be willing to follow.

It was a beautiful day to be marching, and the vibe in the crowd was great.  And WHAT A CROWD!  It was enormous.  When we got to the already-crowded mall at the Capitol, the incoming crowd was still 7 blocks deep!  Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

This picture was SUCH an accident, but I love it. Everyone is pointing up at something - and even the traffic lights are pointing up! What's everyone looking at???

They're looking at this. :) An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... :)

They're looking at this. 🙂 An honest-to-goodness RAINBOW in the sky. It hadn't rained since the day before, so there was no real reason for a rainbow to be out at all. Oh, and there are also little birds flying overhead in the sun. Seriously, if ever there were a sign that I was doing the right thing by participating in this march, this is it. After all, rainbows usually mean God feels bad and is making a promise not to be angry with us or hurt us. At least, they did that ONE time.... 🙂

Ellys and me at the march.  She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing!  :)

Ellys and me at the march. She couldn't BELIEVE she was in a pink article of clothing! 🙂

Michael and Ellys

Michael and Ellys

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Jackie, Ellys, and Christine

Bringing the march to the White House

Bringing the march to the White House

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

Michael, Jackie, Ellys, and Christine bring the march to the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

The crowd at the Capitol

This sign was so beautiful and simple.  I loved it.

This sign was so beautiful and simple. I loved it. "My wife is fighting for peace in the Middle East. I'm fighting for her."

Obama made a lot of big promises in his speech this weekend to the Human Rights Campaign.  He said he is going to be the one to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  He said he promised Matthew Shepard’s mother that he would pass hate crimes legislation.  He said he was an advocate for the LGBT community.  I believe he really means that.  I just hope he has the courage to follow through.  There are many, many people –  gay, straight, and bi; male, female, and trans; citizens – who will not let up until he does.

Special thanks to SWiSH for organizing a group to march.  If any of you are looking for a way to get involved in the fight for equality, this org. would be a great place to start.

Advertisements
Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 2:08 AM  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Waiting On the World to Change

Posted by TERESA

After passing the NY State Assembly, the vote on marriage equality in New York State is going to the State Senate.  53% of New Yorkers are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.  Earlier today, I sent an email to my State Senator, George Onorato, asking him to support the new marriage bill, sort of assuming that I’d be preaching to the choir.  Imagine my disappointment when I received the following auto-reply from him (and it’s kind of sad that no one bothered to check his auto-reply for typos):

From: onorato@senate.state.ny.us

Thank you for your recent email expressing your support for same sex
marriage.  As you may be aware, although I have met with a number of
marriage equality advocates in Albany as well as the district, I am not in
support of the same sex marriage bill that has been proposed.
Throughout my career in the Senate, I have supported many initiatives of
importance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,
including the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) and New York’s hate crimes law.  I am also in favor of the Dignity for All Students Act and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).  In addition, I have secured fudning for groups in my district serving the LGBT community and providing assistance for people with HIV and AIDS.
I sincerely respect your views, and I appreciate the time you took to
express your opinion on this issue.  Thank you agian for contacting me.

While I appreciate that he’s supported all of the above, he seems to be missing the point of this marriage bill.  How can you support a “Dignity for All Students” act, but treat adults in a less than dignified manner by allowing legal discrimination?

The bottom line is – this is a matter of rights according to the law.  The reason why “civil unions” aren’t good enough, is that there are these separate LEGAL things called “marriages” that offer more benefits and care for the partners involved.  Yet many people are determined to maintain the word “marriage” in a religious context, calling it “sacred.”  But there’s a difference between marriage in the state, and marriage in a church, or synagogue, or mosque, or temple.  It’s why, even when you get married in a church, you also have to sign a marriage LICENSE, otherwise it’s not legal.  Gay people should be allowed to get married because they are citizens, because they pay taxes, and because they are human beings.  Holding legal marriage to ONE religion’s definition is against everything this country stands for.  New York is part of the United States which, last time I checked, wasn’t a theocracy.

It’s disheartening that this particular state senator plans to vote against the wishes of the people he’s sworn to represent.  When I did more research into the senator, I discovered that he’s eighty-one years old!  He was born and raised in Astoria, and has been representing the area as a Democrat in the State Senate since 1983.   Considering that lengthy term of service, it pains me to say anything negative about him, as I have great respect for anyone who would not only choose public service as a career, but spend so much of their lives representing the place where they grew up.

And yet.

Gay marriage is a human rights issue, just as segregation was (remember those pesky miscegenation laws?), just as women’s rights were (and are).  People who are anti-gay marriage generally cite it as a moral issue.  To me, being on the wrong side of this issue by denying adult citizens the right to marry any other adult citizen they choose is an even graver moral trespass.  When I think of Senator Onorato, I can’t help but think of the John Mayer song, “Waiting on the World to Change”:

One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population
So we keep on waiting, waiting
Waiting on the world to change

I’ve found myself saying a lot recently that my friends and I are getting to the age where we’re beginning to take over the world.  🙂  Not in the diabolical, cartoon-mad-scientist sense, but in the very real sense of moving up in our careers, becoming the taste and decision makers that shape things.  Every time I turn around, another friend or acquaintance of mine is in charge of some department, or has become a teacher and is shaping young minds, or has become an artist with the talent to sway the population.  So, I find myself thinking the sad, yet realistic thought that there won’t be any real change made on this front until there are more of us and less of the old guard.  It’s the way of the world, I suppose.

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 5:11 PM  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,