While I see the pictures and read the stories on social I find I'm happy, sad, encouraged, and discouraged all at once. I'm so glad to live in such a progressive place where reproduction rights and marriage equality is supported by the strong majority. I wear my Ally shirts and march in the gay pride parade and my support is appreciated I'm certain, but sometimes it feels almost unnecessary. It's not earth shattering to express your support here. Not a shock to anyone if you admit you are pro choice. You won't have well meaning friends praying for your soul while informing you that you are going to hell.
I used to like the idea of being a lone wolf down south. Expressing my acceptance of evolution, my belief in the right to choose, support of interracial relationships, etc. It made me feel like I was a rebel when I really wasn't. I thought I should have as many rights and opportunities as my male counterparts and this didn't feel like it should even be up for debate. In my youth and naiveté it just made sense. I thought it was hypocritical to say a black person "is my best friend, I love her like a sister, but no way in hell can she ever date my brother!". I thought, if someone was so distraught and unhappy they felt suicide was their only option, that I couldn't come to terms with a religion that would condemn that person to hell. In the end I was just a lover... not a faithful non-questioning "believer". For that reason I was always a bit of an outsider, along with a very few other like minded friends.
Sometimes I miss those days. Not that I think I made any real impact on the beliefs of those around me. Actually, I think it was the other way around. The beliefs of those around me had a significant impact on reinforcing my emerging convictions. But the truth is I was still so young and worried about fitting in, where I could never truly fit, to be an effective voice for those beliefs which were just starting to take hold in my heart.
I wonder if I could do more good now. Now that I'm less concerned with how others see me and more about the person I want to be. But then I read those bigoted comments from people who think their God and their religion should dictate everyone's beliefs and actions and I realize if I still lived there I would probably feel...exhausted by it all.
I have so much admiration for the tireless fighters for equality everywhere, but especially down south. Your courage and dedication in the face of almost constant disapproval and often pure hatred is astonishing and beautiful. It's wonderful to see the progress in Alabama, no matter how much it's resisted and I wish I could have been there on Monday, holding a sign and supporting those who went to the court house to marry. Maybe, when it finally happens in Mississippi, I'll be there with flowers and a sign. Because I'm certain there will be many protestors and many hateful words spoken, but it turns out I have a big voice and I can use it much better now. I can use it to shout messages of acceptance and love.
|Shared on Facebook by Arik S|