Moments like these demand such strength to stay upright. An observer by nature, I often soak in what I see and process it through prose, the medium through which I’ve channeled much of my life and that which has become my saving grace so many times before. But today, words fail.
Some might say I’m feeding into a defeatist mentality. That I think it’s over. That it was all for naught. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Am I disheartened that a majority of North Carolinians chose hate and ignorance, thereby causing North Carolina to backslide into the same welter of inequity and disenfranchisement promulgated by its neighboring southern states? Undoubtedly. But am I exceptionally proud of the strides the LGBTQ-ally community made over the past year, in anticipation of Amendment One? You bet your asses.
For the better part of a year, many of us have been fighting the fight: handing out buttons and posting signs in our yards; making convoys to voting stations and participating in phone banks; educating those who didn’t understand the amendment’s wide-reaching implications and bolstering those who did to keep on trucking; planning festival events and organizational activities to showcase the Triangle’s diversity in the hopes of demonstrating how problematic this sort of institutionalized bigotry is and how many it will affect; marching to make a difference and making our presence known. Coming together for a common goal; making a difference when we could’ve easily thrown up our hands and embraced apathy. We’ve made an impact. We’ve grown, we’ve cried, we’ve driven ourselves to the brink.
And sometimes we lose. But Amendment One will not stand the test of time. It will be relegated to the proverbial dustbin with other similarly authored legislation—of the same ilk that once barred other minorities from sharing basic civil rights. It will instantaneously become a horrendous blight on North Carolina’s constitution, and will be an embarrassment for future legislators to repeal. It will undermine North Carolina’s vitality. Businesses will hemorrhage employees who no longer receive benefits for their children or their partners. Everyone will know someone affected. No citizen will be spared. Amendment One is a vector of a legislative epidemic.
Hateful people will always exist. But they won’t always wield majority rule. The issues that concerned generations before mine are disturbingly laughable to us today. What today’s young people care about is making a life for themselves—and doing so together, regardless of our abilities, ethnicities, or gender identities. We realize that the religious right’s latest buffeting will be the last significant wave we will have to endure—that those of us fighting for equality have droves of advocates joining us in solidarity.
We’re all part of a quilt that’s been tattered by hate, bigotry, and ignorance. But it’s slowly being patched together through proactive activism and genuine respect. Because somewhere in the madness, we realize that our respective futures hang by threads. But if they’re sewn together, our bond will never unravel.
And our success will blanket the nation.