Yesterday morning I wrote this: “When the current President says his feelings on gay marriage are evolving – what does that mean? You either support it – or you don’t. If The President can’t – or more to the point – won’t – make a decision and express it to the country – why on earth would we expect the people who live here to be any more accepting than the President?”
I can no longer say that. For the first time in the history of the United States, a sitting President has had the courage to voice his support for gay marriage. I’m proud of him for having the courage to do the right thing.
Yes, it’s huge, and yes, it does give us validation, but realistically – what exactly has changed for the gay community?
The folks, who hate us, still hate us. The laws of the land which discriminate against us are still the laws of the land and continue to discriminate against us. This personal evolution by the President will do nothing to change the hearts and minds of the haters, for they will hate no matter what. My concern is that President Obama’s walk on the gay side will only inflame the fires of those who wish to see us rotting in their little version of hell and spur them into an anti-gay Flash Mob at the polls in November. President Obama losing this election would set gay rights, women’s rights, and all sorts of legislation concerning the rights of many American’s back decades.
It’s important to understand that politically, President Obama did not have to make this statement of support to the gay community. He may have pissed us off on occasion, but when push came to shove he totally had the support of the gay community. Obviously, he didn’t do it for political gain; he did it because it was the right thing for him to do as a man; as a human being. I don’t believe you can be President of the United States and stand for anything but equality for all Americans.
Every gay/lesbian/transgender person has a story to tell. Every one of us has evolved in our own lives at our own pace. Some threw caution to the wind and followed their bliss from the moment they knew they were gay. Some, like me, knew we were gay and still, for all the wrong reasons – family, religion, and culture – we decided to hide our gayness under a bush (so to speak!) The journey isn’t always easy and there is always the possibility that you will lose more than you could possibly imagine. However, what you will gain in self-respect and inner peace will far outweigh the negatives.
As I’m writing this – I’m sitting at my neighborhood Starbucks and the couple sitting beside me is talking to their teenage son about President Obama and his support of gay marriage. They aren’t happy, they are talking religion, and they are talking sending money to the Romney campaign. I’m hearing the words liberal, fags, uppity… I’m thinking the words racist, homophobic, ignorant… I want to tap the woman on her shoulder, point at myself and say: “gay.” Before I found the courage to do just that their son told them to “shut-up” and he walked out. This young man restores my faith in the young!
These two ignorant fools aren’t the anti-gay flash mob I spoke of, but, it is the beginning of the backlash that will come as hope and change become a reality here in the United States of America. There is still much work to be done; there are still many changes that need to be made politically, socially, monetarily, religiously, educationally, and a whole lot of other lly’s.
But on this day; I will stand a little taller, feel a little prouder to be an American, and be thankful I have a President who has the character and courage to support me – a gay American.