This post is a guest post for the 42 days series. Learn more here!
I was in California the day that gay marriage was legalized. While I didn’t see celebrations in the street, and I hadn’t even come out to my mother yet, I knew it was a big deal. Unfortunately, I was also in California for the entirety of the Prop 8 movement, and I had to witness discrimination, lies, ignorance, and the eventual heart break of having equality ripped from our hands. I was sitting with the majority of our college democrats club watching the election. We cheered when we learned Obama was the new president, but the energy in the room was sucked out when we found the fate of Prop 8. This issue was bigger than picking the president. I barely saw any political signs for candidates; it was all about the freedom to marry. And because we were on a liberal-dominated campus, it seemed like there was no way that this stupid proposition could pass.
But it did.
Confused and angry, we looked up a map of how each district voted. The liberal places along the coast all voted No, but everywhere else was an ugly shade of red. It was devastating. The brutal lies the Right had created had worked. They played off the natural homophobic tendencies of people. They figured out that most people were actually pro-gay marriage, but not many where for the teaching of gay rights and history in schools, so they spewed things about how by letting gay people get married, their children’s schools would be reading stories about two princes, and learning about Harvey Milk. And that’s not ok. Gay people can go and get married, but my child can’t be gay.
I watched as all the advances in the LGBT movement we have been fighting so hard for all crumbled because too many parents have a deeply rooted fear in their hearts that their perfect child would learn that they can be who they actually are, and that might just mean they are gay. And gay is bad. And this was the view in California. For being such a “liberally hippy progressive” place, it sure isn’t.
Then I moved back here to Minnesota, and I heard about this amendment, and I almost wanted to cry. I was going to have to do this all again. I was going to have to see bigoted ads, hear lies about myself, and see the true ugliness of people. But, I was happy to find that for a long time, there were no ads, no slandering comments. Everything was quiet. Then, I finally saw an ad. A pro marriage equality ad. But, still no “vote yes” ones. It stayed like that for a while, and then I went off to school and haven’t watched TV since, so I’m not sure if the “yes” side has beefed up their fight. But, wherever I have been, I have seen “VOTE NO” shirts, stickers, buttons, signs, fans, you name it. And that makes me feel hopeful. I have seen only 1 “vote yes” sign. But, when I think about it, I worry, because that is how it was on my old campus. Just because I see it everywhere doesn’t mean it’s the majority. And I can’t help but wonder if I see less “vote yes” stuff because those voting “yes” know they are being discriminatory, and they feel shame, as they should. And I worry that this hidden “yes” community will surface and move to the polls in November, and then slide back to the underground, leaving people they have never met, never bothered to get to know, and probably never will, standing here without what I view as a basic human right.
St. Cloud is a very conservative town off campus. As a visually different person, I fear being attacked every time I walk out of the door. And when I leave my building in drag makeup, I walk as fast as I can to wherever I need to go because I know that it is not safe in this homophobic town. I don’t like hiding. I don’t want to hide anymore. I want this town to continue its change towards a progressive, accepting community, and this amendment is just another step towards that.
I am voting “NO” because I do not want to see what happened in California again.
Bio – I am proud to call myself a Minnesotan, as any of my friends from the 2 years I went to school in California will tell you. I am a 22 year old pansexual, drag queen, art student, and all around odd person!
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