Thursday, October 11, 2012

I remember ...

Motherhood has taught me a few new tricks.  One of them is how to balance my sleeping two-month-old on my abdomen while I type.  (Full disclosure:  I'm a huge proponent of getting my kid to sleep in places other than on me or his dad.  This is about the time that I'd sneak him into his car seat or to his crib for the 20 minute naps that he's famous for.  But the kid had his two-month vaccinations today.  I want to keep him close by.  And I'm in love with his dear little face.)

Motherhood has also made me unaccountably sappy.  We'll blame this on post-natal hormones compounded with sore nipples and sleeplessness.  Stupid things impact me and make me want to cry.  Letters like this or thisMarines who help people with prosthetics.  High school athletes who show the real meaning of sportsmanshipIdiots in Anoka.

OK - the Anoka thing made me want to hurl.  But I digress.

I'm aware of a lot of the world's shenangians and sappy moments because of Facebook.  When I'm not chuckling over the latest meme posted by George Takei or reposting some liberal cartoon that draws the ire of my conservative friends, it seems like a lot of the items that my friends are posting are usually in support of marriage equality. 

Today's National Coming Out Day and I've come out in support of my friends' right to marry whoever the hell they want to regardless of gender.  That should surprise no one.  Tomorrow is another "day" of sorts - a day that actually got me on my path of outspoken activism.  Tomorrow marks the 14th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. 

1998.  I would have been a junior at Luther College.  At least one of my dear friends had come out by that time. There was no way to know that over a decade later, I'd meet another man who would come out and that this person would become one of my best friends in the entire planet. 

I live in a world where my secular, liberal self has a hard time with the roadblocks that are in the way of my gay friends.  I think that the Minnesota marriage amendment that is on the upcoming ballot is a shameless piece of political posturing that has been introduced by some idiot who is simply seeking re-election.

My argument is flawed but over the past few months, I had a weird revelation.  For the politicians who so stridently decry the impact that gay marriage will have on "traditional" society, I say that it's pretty easy to be against something that will never impact you as a person.

One of the reasons that I am so outspoken about gay rights is because Matthew Shepard's death was a turning point in my life.  The brutality of his murder made a lot of people wake up - I was one of them.  And not because of the fight for equality.  I woke up and began to speak out because there was a part of me that could substitute Matthew's baby face for any one of my friends who had come out in the small Midwestern college that we called home.  What if someone tried to hurt my friend Dan?  No one would do that - no one would hurt someone just because he was gay.  Right?  Right?

As I wrote on my Facebook wall: "I remember the horror and grief that I felt for this man and his family. And I remember the fear I felt for my friends who had come out. And I promised myself that I would raise my voice in solidarity for my friends and decry the hate and violence that ended this young man's life. I remember."

I raise my voice because I believe that love is love, regardless of whether it's between a heterosexual or a homosexual couple.  I raise my voice to fight against the violence that still occurs today. 

I raise my voice - albeit quietly - because I can imagine that Matthew Shepard's mother once balanced her boy carefully on her abdomen as he napped, so she could go about the work of her day.  I am sure that she loved her son's dear little face. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for being an inspiration to me and for helping me to be a bit more outspoken! Also, don't let anyone make you feel bad about where that precious baby sleeps. You will only get to snuggle and nap with him for such a short piece of his life; enjoy every second of it!