So I am in process of composing several blog entries, but as I continually check my Facebook feed to see a sea of red Equal signs, I know there are bigger things to discuss.
Today is a big day for Marriage Equality. It’s the start of our country deciding to move forward to honor all people or to take a major step back.
Growing up in Kentucky I never recall hearing my parents speak ill of homosexuals. It was never ingrained in me that it was bad, or sinful, or against natural order. However it also wasn’t ever mentioned as good, or right, or just who a person is. Really it just wasn’t talked about. Not because I think my parents were wary of the topic, but because at the time I don’t think they thought they needed to. It wasn’t an issue that affected our lives.
It was the summer of 1995, I was twelve years old, and I was in rehearsal for a production of The Secret Garden (one of my favorite shows to date). I had noticed that at the end of each evening a person would come and wait by the door. As they were usually on the other side of the room I couldn’t tell if this person was male or female. To my pre-teen self they seemed to be a feminine man or a masculine woman.
Finally my curiosity got the best of me so I turned to my fellow cast mate and asked “Who is that?” He responded, slightly hesitantly, “That’s Beth’s lover.”
I thought about what that meant for a second and then responded “Is that a guy, or…a girl?”
“It’s a girl.”
I recall my stomach getting a very nervous feeling inside of it, and my face feeling hot. Almost as though I was embarrassed. I didn’t say anything, I just sat there processing what I had just learned. I hadn’t encountered this situation before and wasn’t sure what to think of it. I wasn’t upset, or repulsed, but simply unsure. I didn’t realize that I knew a gay person…what does one do with this information?
And then, a thought came to me, very clearly, very precisely. It’s one of those moments which is burned into my mind. It’s not a distant memory which I have managed to color and change over time based on a faint recollection. This was a turning point, a life altering decision moment. A self-shaping, never look back, change the course of how you view the world moment. I remember where I was standing. I remember the tan bleachers which lined the back of the gym where we rehearsed. I remember it all.
The thought was: “But I like Beth. So why should it matter if she is a Lesbian or not?”
And that was that. I liked Beth. I admired Beth. I thought she was stunningly beautiful and talented, and also super cool. She happened to be a Lesbian.
At age twelve I decided, all on my own, without any outside pressure or influence, that I liked…no loved…gay people. That they were just like me and that was that.
Of course then I began to realize that probably ninety percent of the cast way gay, which meant I had a whole host of gay friends who I adored (and still do!). I was a twelve-year-old, Kentucky gal, flying a big rainbow-colored flag and was damn proud of it.
Today the Supreme Court has been given a tremendous gift. They are given the chance to have a moment just like this one. To realize that love is love, people are people, and freedom is freedom. They have the chance to make a decision to do the right thing. A decision which will go down in history, which will change the course of America forever.
If a twelve-year-old can make this decision, I think a Supreme Court justice can too.
Let’s be on the right side of history.