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Be Proud

I was a freshman in high school when Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die in the coldness of Laramie, Wyoming. News of his attack trickled down through my small town’s news and gossip mills—the entire twisted, tragic narrative framed as something problematic and salacious. Few discussed it openly, and those who did defaulted to the deeply flawed victim-blaming mentality: he had it coming, after all. So I policed myself even more, venturing further into my closet’s shadows.

I’d known I was different since I was eight. Without the vocabulary to really capture what I knew, I entertained the thought that I had some innate superhero ability, or some amazingly unique, mutant-like advantage. But it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I quietly admitted to myself that, in all likelihood, I was gay. Only one classmate actually came out, and he—and his family—were smeared across the front page of the local paper, and he and his boyfriend were given wide berth at the prom. From the periphery of the dance floor, I’d watched them watch each other, my eyes falling to their clasped hands. That’s what I wanted. Still, I never verbalized my truth, made it real, until I was nearly finished with college.

***

The Pulse massacre last year ripped through the LGBTQIA+ community; I was visiting my family in Alabama, and walked into the living room—eyes still bleary from sleep—to my parents glued to the screen, their faces screwed up in horror. My heart rate quickened and I started sweating and I walked out the front door. I kept going for a mile, circling through our family’s land and ending up back at an old, shattered playground my grandparents had helped my parents build. My ex-husband and I were in the middle of separating, and would, weeks after I returned, decide to divorce. But still, we talked through the sheer tragedy of this latest news, hearing our words echo back to one another over the phone, the world suddenly feeling so much smaller, even more fragile.

Months later, as the malignancies of the 2016 election revealed the extent to which this nation is still so deeply racist and misogynistic, I felt a hollowness I’d experienced all those closeted years ago. Again, the future felt so fragile—knowing the ensuing violence espoused from on high would be mapped more vehemently and pointedly onto people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, and women.

***

So many people have been lost over the past year, the vast majority of whom being people of color.

I made the mistake of reading an article today that advocated for dissolving National Coming Out Day. The author was a cis, white, gay man whose utter lack of history and severe cognitive dissonance made me cringe. I disagreed with every single one of his points. Now more than ever, LGBTQIA+ people must be visible; we must show that we aren’t going anywhere, that the future will only get browner, queerer, and—mother goddesses be willing—more female.

Reading his suggestions, I thought back to when I came out over 12 years ago. It was a crucial, life-saving decision; the act of bringing voice to what I’d long since known quieted the malevolent voices in my mind, and stemmed the self-harming actions and suicidal thoughts that’d skewed my perception of what my future would look like. In coming out, I wrested power back from those whose narrow worldviews kept me barricaded within my private torture chamber. My mind could only take so much trauma before it went into a numbing survival mode, blunting senses and joy—clouding my mind’s eye with a grayed shroud devoid of hope.

Being out and visible for anyone is a courageous exercise. And for me, I’m quickly reminded of how much privilege I carry as a white, cis, gay man—the relative security I’m ensured that is so far out of reach for my trans* family and friends, especially trans* women of color.

Dark, uncertain times necessitate that we band together; the more closely bound we are—the more vigilant and outspoken we are, the more protective we are of our neighbors who aren’t afforded the same privileges—the better equipped we’ll be to combat the growing chill, the biting hatred of legislative rollbacks.

This National Coming Out Day, I hope more people come out and don’t tacitly endorse heteronormative behaviors that inform dangerous, violent actions.

Each of us is endowed with a moral compass. And it’s up to us to reorient the national narrative—even by taking slow, iterative steps in times like these—to advance and promote a future in which we’re all recognized as people deserving of basic, inalienable rights.

We must be confident and authentic—and wield those sources of power compassionately.

 

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Mahwage: No Longer the Final Frontier

Y’all know The Princess Bride priest-marriage scene probably got ridiculous play with the SCOTUS ruling regarding marriage, right?

“Mahhhhwage…is wot bwings us togethah todahhh. Mahhwwage…”

Ah, it never gets old.

Speaking of old news, isn’t it nice that marriage is now a non-issue? That our elected officials – or those who fudge the numbers/voting precinct lines/right people to get into office – can now take “gay marriage” off their plates and remove it as the crux of their (re)election platforms? I think I just heard a collective sigh of relief from across the nation. Except from those conservatives heading to that bastion of holiness, that birthplace of traditional values: Canada. Thank the gods Canadians don’t have anything resembling our “socialist healthcare,” and reserve the sacred covenant of matrimony for the majority!

In all seriousness, I’m really excited to see the national lens refocus on much larger, much more important issues than who I love.

Maybe it’s just the thumpa thumpa of Seattle Pride vibrating our windows and walls, or the rainbows veiling social media, but I’m feeling a surge of energy these past few days – like generations are finally coming together to effect meaningful change in this country. But of course, we have a long way to go.

Still, it’s hard not to reflect on these past few days and project forward – and think about all of the great changes we could see in our lifetimes. I mean it was only a few years ago that I was waving an ad hoc canvas-sign with others proclaiming their disgust for North Carolina’s Amendment One at rallies like this one:

Change is coming!

or at marches like this:

Ides of Love

And now, these particular signs are thankfully slipping into artifact territory, but their messages still ring true – harbingers of things to come, of more milestones we may be able to make tomorrow, the next day, and in the coming decades.

It still is!

So, let’s celebrate this victory – hoot and holler and scream, “HOT DAMN! FINALLY!” And play said clip from The Princess Bride until our ears bleed.

And let’s absorb these amazing feelings, and pay them forward through everyday acts so that we can continue shaping a future that’s more complete and a Union that, to quote the President, is “a little more perfect.”

Dream board!

(And yes, our “dream board” – what we want out of life, etc. – is attached to the other protest sign. Fitting, no?)

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Same-Sex Marriage? Must Be the Fiery End Times. (But I Don’t Even Have A Sunburn.)

My brain is still a gelatinous blob of nothingness when Andy calls.

“Isn’t the news exciting?!”

With my mental hourglass still turning, waiting for my responses to load, my mind thumbs through options.

Did we have a baby?

Have we adopted another geriatric dog?

Did we win the lottery?

He senses my uncertainty – probably tipped off by the prolonged “Durrrrrr…uhhhh…

“GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL!”

Toby smells himself. I awaken.

“HOLYFUCK…SHIT!”

Of course this would be the morning when I’d convinced myself not to immediately open Facebook. No, cut the cord a little bit. Give yourself some mental space to think. And so I’d stared at the morning light filtering through the windows, thought about my impending phone interview, and watched Toby drag his ass across the floor – ending at his food bowl where he waited expectantly.

So the SCOTUS ruling had been mentally supplanted a bit by my concern that Toby’s anal glands needed to be expressed again.

But now I know. And Andy gives me a minute to collect my thoughts, cry, and call him later.

Online, a giant rainbow cloaks every news page, and I can’t believe this day is actually here. We’d been on pins and needles before with DOMA, and every other time something idiotic was passed down from on high – on both federal and local levels. But now, we were equal in the eyes of the law.

And, most certainly, conservatives are soon to be calling this the END TIMES, what with “post-racial society” statements being tragically disproven, Confederate flags being removed, and LGBTQIAers being able to marry. Surely, society is caving in on itself like a dying star. Only rapture will save the righteous. But we’ve been through the End Times a couple times before, and I don’t even have a sunburn.

The enormity of this decision can’t be overstated. Not only is this a legal victory, it’s a moral victory. Now, rather than being demonized and dehumanized by legislation – by talks from hyper-conservative pundits, by stupid business owners given airtime – we FINALLY have something more substantial than DOMA being stricken down a year ago today. Today, we have the beginnings of a delicately balanced playing field – a harbinger of societal change and restructuration. Now is the time to celebrate, but also to remember there’re so many more fights to wage for fair housing, benefits, and everything in between.

It’s time to reach out and promote peace and understanding across the spectrum of humanity – while there’s this victory, there’s still a long way for this country to go on minority rights, and acknowledging racial tensions, climate change, a living wage, on and on ad nauseum.

We still have a long way to go as a country, but at least now our national whole is a little more colorful.

YASSSSSSSSSSSS.

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Duck, Duck, Cooked Goose

On the East coast, it’s just about time for the second wave of Duck Dynasty posts to start filtering across the Facebooksphere.

Everyone and their momma ‘n them will be talking about how it’s either (1) a tragedy that poor what’s-his-name-bubba done got his rights taken away, or (2) the worst affront to humanity since the perm.

And then there’s a percentage of the public — me included — who’s all like, “What’s a Ducky Dynasty?”  Still, when I hear that some yahoo is spouting off about how I’m going to some little fiery afterlife place because I like dick, it gets me a little riled up — the same way Toby gets when he has a chew toy and can’t figure out where in the hell to bury it in a city apartment.

Duck who?  I just want to find a place to bury this thing.

Now, though, I’m at the point where I’m wondering why America is all up in arms over what some bumbling bonobo is yammering on about.

Never mind that we have some slight economic ripples upsetting our national pond.

And don’t pay attention to the crazy-intense weather we’re experiencing on a global scale.

War, disease, famine?  They can all just take a backseat to this high-profile story.

Here’s the thing.  I’m so goddamn tired of the news zeroing in on the most inane bullshit that hits the fan.  The only thing that’ll make headlines is what a Kardashian said about the latest fall trend, or how she lost that baby weight after her fourth fling-husband-daddy figure-person left her and her bratty children.

Why not report on the good things that’re happening?

Why can’t great news be as sensationalized as the cray-cray nonsense of today?

I just don’t understand why I should be equally dismayed by The Huffington Post and CNN and NBC, nor why they seem to be getting just as absurd as Faux News.

Give me some Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart or Parks and Recreation any old day to all of that Jabberjaw drivel.

Rather than bringing in pundits to dissect some ridiculous, laughably sad commentary by a guy whose beard is probably the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa, I have the crazy notion that news personalities should take a step back and determine how we got to this point.

Why is television flooded with idiotic people?  Why are we content to have Americans tethered to their sofas, letting this crap soften their minds like a veal steak?

Why not start fresh — have shows with people who actually have some education behind them; who have more to say than incoherent grunts and fart jokes; who stand a chance of reaching some kid out there who’s surfing channels, hoping for a life preserver to keep them afloat in this dark, dank, ducky soup.

Regardless of how it all pans out, I know one thing.  I’ll keep myself as far away from cable as possible.

That is, until I can differentiate that smelly box from where a cat shits.

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A Welcomed Palimpsest

The past year has taught me a lot about dealing with indescribable stress and frustration.

But in many ways, I’m grateful for it.

I’m not going to lie and write that I didn’t think that ye olde SCOTUS wouldn’t follow yesterday’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act with more driveling, archaic, nonsensical rulings today. I hoped I’d be able to strike through all of this. But that’s not the way things will go. Because today isn’t about the rulings or the SCOTUS or the White House or Congress.

Today is about the people you see every single day, and what they’re feeling. It’s about empathizing and cutting people a break, about letting them mourn in their own way, so that they can process everything that’s happened. Plenty of conservative pundits will say that liberals are bleeding out their little hearts. But this was a slight of epic proportions; one that’ll take some time to overcome. Because there’s a lot to bemoan, and not just the gutting of a crucial piece of civil rights legislation and the continued relegation of LGBT citizens to second-class status.

What’s most disturbing to me about all of this is that such critical issues were left up to nine people to decide. Not nine justices; nine people as fallible and biased as you and I, each of whom is charged with determining the course of American political history. And yet, some of them wield the power of their position to make a point–to cross the “T” and dot the “I” on their legacy, rather than the legacy of our country.

Thirteen other countries have recognized the importance of acknowledging each of their citizens, and extending to them the rights and privileges we in the US desire: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden. And, quite courageously, same-sex marriage is recognized by twelve states in the US–Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington–the District of Columbia, and five Native American tribes: Coquille Tribe of Oregon, the Suquamish tribe of Washington, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians of Michigan, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan, and the Santa Ysabel Tribe of California. Do I believe it is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage and LGBT rights issues are no longer viewed in such a…

We win!We win. America wins.

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If I was a White Supremacist-Misogynist-Classist

Dear SCOTUS:

I love saying your acronym, because it reminds me of scrotum–which is what our proud country is built upon! Because it takes real balls to stand up for what’s right–or is it reich? Oh, fiddlesticks–I forget how to spell it! Let me go ask my friend, Paula. Even if she’s a woman and clearly much more dense than I, a man.

But speaking of Paula, I’m sure I’m not the only one happy that she’s off the air. Not because of the black comments–especially since she’s just reminding us that it’s all about heritage, not hate, y’all. I’m glad because I was a little unsure about a woman being, you know, in the man’s realm–television. Which should always be tuned to Fox News.

Can I get an Amen?! Oh, thanks Scalia!

And Scalia, I have the utmost faith that you and your brethren will push the weaker sex back into the home, where they should always be knocked up (either by their loftly wedded husband or a rapist) and subjugated like a good 1950’s woman! Because it’s a man’s responsibility, and it’s up to him–and Him!–to speak for them. Plus, while the good wives are prepping dinner, they can take care of the darling Duggar-like clan they’ve spawned, because we know birth control is the devil and we’d rather see their lady parts fall out than take their personal health and safety into consideration. Plus, at home they’ll have time to watch their favorite shows and classic movies, especially that handsome man’s-man Rock Hudson.

Sure, he’s rumored to have been a homosexual, but that’s absurd! Those ninnies frolick around and decorate houses, and they certainly don’t look like him! Thank the Lord above that we can get away with denying them “civil rights”–like they can really be married. I mean, they don’t have the parts to, uh, make babies. Because that’s what a real marriage is: a penis and a vagina together forever. I tell ya, this whole business of recognizing those people and their deviant ways is a chip in our country’s armor. Before long, they’ll demand for us not to beat them straight. The nerve!

I mean, really. Between the homosexuals and the brown people, I’m at a loss. And don’t get me started on the handicapped and the environmentalists. To think that they feel that they’re entitled to the same things I have. And to access ramps everywhere? And a frack-free living? The audacity! Who in the hell will trim my lawn, or care for white children?

It’s the disintegration of society, that’s what it is! Pure anarchy!

But SCOTUS, with the trends you’ve made in the past, and with your news this morning about the Voting Rights Act, I have the utmost faith that you’ll return this country to its former glory, and will find a way to get that brown Muslim out of the White–I repeat, White–House.

Your humble straight white male minority constituent,

Bubba

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North Carolina’s Body Politic: A Cadaverous Stump?

You know how everyone’s extended family has at least one raging drunk tucked into the mix? Who always totters around family gatherings, slurring their words, eating all the pinwheel sandwiches, and standing up and toasting at the most inopportune times, usually without their pants?

Well, I just saw mine on the news, and stared slack-jawed at the television screen.

And hung my head in shame, muttering, “Jesus. Get ahold of yourself!” as the newscast droned on about her latest antics.

But it’s not Aunt Patty making headlines tonight.

It’s my former home state: North Carolina.

***

Not only has North Carolina’s Republican majority routinely walked out of the Houses without their proverbial pants, but they seemed to have forgotten a little something else.

No, not the pantyhose tucked into their underwear. The Constitution.

With every slash the Republican majority makes to Medicaid, to voter rights, to LGBTQ rights, to women’s rights, to immigrant rights, to environmental protection, to religious freedom, North Carolina’s body politic is resembling a cadaverous stump.

Republican-authored legislation has been hemorrhaging minority rights at such alarming rates, it’s difficult to identify suitable tourniquets. But even when citizens apply pressure to quell the bleeding, they’re rewarded with handcuffs.

The most recent legislative lunacy evidences the callous disregard the Republican majority has for the rights of those “others” who don’t line their pockets with dirty money.

Who work and work and work for a better future, and are constantly feeling the swift breeze of so many doors slamming in their faces.

Who are just trying to get by.

Who just want a legal ID that reflects their gender identity.

Who just want to govern their own reproductive organs.

Who just want to marry the person they love.

Who just want to be acknowledged.

Who just want peace and balance, with a touch of order.

Who just want a state that takes into account all of its constituents, not just the wealthiest or whitest.

***

Before long, the newscast shifts to the weather, and I stare back down at the stack of papers on the cafe table, and think about our Disunited States.

How absurd it is that, after crossing state lines, the stories of minorities retaining civil rights read like chapters from The Lord of the Flies.

How foolish it is for there not to be blanket protections for all citizens–that gender identity, socioeconomic class, sex, and ethnicity are still such divisive topics, and often limit the rights extended to a state’s constituents.

It’s a sad time in our country when the drunk relative becomes the role model.

When a raucous few are rewarded for pouring them another, and the cab called by a concerned majority leaves empty.

When I don’t regret leaving a state I once loved.

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Dear North Carolina: It’s Not Us, It’s You.

Y’all know I love letters.

And love letters.

But this one is particularly apropos as I watch, horrified, as North Carolina backslides into history through daily leaps and bounds.

Dear North Carolina:

I have mixed feelings about leaving you.

Mostly because I held you so highly for so long.

You seemed like a place where a southern liberal could find compatriots and a bit of that southern-style flair and hospitality I so cherish.

And, for a while, I thought you provided exactly that.

I grew academically in Chapel Hill.

I did my share of wine-fueled porch-hopping in Sanford.

I met the love of my life in Raleigh.

But the short time since the Republican majority took hold of both the House and Senate–the first time in a 100 years–you’ve become a shade of that state I personally held as the Southeast’s liberal scion. 

Now, though, you’re being driven into the ground by nonsensical legislation and a hyper-conservative government that attacks me, my family, and chosen family; other minorities–women, people of color, immigrants; individuals’ religious rights; and the environment. Just to name a few.

You’re becoming the laughing stock among your Deep South cohort. And, as a native Alabamian, you should know that some folks in my home state are whispering to their Georgia and South Carolina relatives, “Wow, is that cray-cray transferred by osmosis?”

So, North Carolina, I have a question for you.

Are you worth the fight?

Because the past few years I’ve done nothing but fight, march for equality, speak out against bigoted legislation like Amendment One, and rail against an apathetic majority. And, sure, there have been victories. But the severe degree to which you’re backsliding into history makes me wonder what the future holds.

I’m tired.

I’m done fighting for rights that other states, and countries, recognize as they should.

A life spent fighting doesn’t seem like a life I want to lead.

I want to focus on living.

Every single day over the past few weeks, my partner and I have been reminded why we’re leaving you for California.

Sure, Cali has her own problems. But at least with her there’s probably less likelihood that we’ll be accosted and called “faggots” for merely holding hands in our car while stopped at a traffic light; that we’ll be shadowed and stalked on the road by pickup trucks plastered with Confederate flags; that we’ll hear our legislators repeatedly legitimize unconstitutional, institutional violence and bigotry against us and other minorities.

Maybe I’m just sensitive. Or maybe I’m a slighted Millennial who’s experienced the recession’s pitfalls since its inception, and constantly sees my fellow generational cohort continually screwed through economic and legislative (in)action.

But my partner and I can only defend you so long before we acknowledge that your base does not deserve our economic contributions nor our innovative spirits.

We’re tired of reinforcing Battered Citizen Syndrome. We’re not going to come running back, defending you every single time you punch us, expecting everything to be roses and rainbows afterward.

We’ll do what we can to support our good friends who continue to fight. But know that they, too, are getting tired of your repeated blows. And it’s only a matter of time before your tactics to regulate citizens’ social lives in lieu of effecting positive, beneficial political change backfire–when you find yourself quickly sliding down that “Most Desirable” list, being abandoned by progressive companies seeking a home base.

So, my partner and I will move gaily forward with our lives. In California. And we’ll hope you’ll soon find a brain like Dorothy’s scarecrow, and actually realize that you’re aligning yourself with the wrong side of history. And that, very soon, you’ll know what it feels like to be a minority.

Bless your heart.

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A Postmarked Message to Myself

Even before my glittery departure from the ranks of the gainfully employed, I read a lot of blogs. Now, I do it even more. Mostly because I love to read and write and look at pictures, and blogs engage all of that, making it less likely that my ADD-wired self won’t tear off and do something else. Especially if a particular blog satiates my love of design (and double plus bonus if it features our apartment).

So, I was reading a recent post on a blog I really like (and you should too), and it got me to thinking about my younger, more impressionable high school self. I’ve written plenty about my coming out process, have made an It Gets Better video, and have enjoyed becoming an LGBT advocate.

Still, I love writing letters. So, in the spirit of the Hommemaker, I decided to write one to my high school self.

***

Dear Matt,

I know why you’re paying close attention to everyone’s reactions to the first out gay student requesting to bring his date–another guy!–to the senior prom at your conservative, small town Alabama high school.

And it’s not because you think he’s cool.

It’s because a part of you identifies with him. But you can’t quite put your finger on that yet. You have an idea, but nothing fully formed.

All you can do is watch the fallout when the newspaper lines of the local paper read something about a “Gay student” and “Prom.”

Hear what other students call him.

Feel the palpable tension that falls over a crowd when he walks down the hall, the students parting like the Red Sea. And you part with them. Because you’re unknowingly in survival mode.

Because you know that, if you do put a name to what you’re feeling now, you’re not popular enough for it to be “cool” or even “okay.” After all, you’re that amorphous blob of an adolescent who has barely gone through puberty. Who always smiles, is friendly, and acts goofy. Who gets bullied by freshmen several years younger than you. Who has to stay in band because it’s your “only social outlet,” even if you hate it. Who has to like girls.

Because, well, you don’t want to be called “faggot.” Even if plenty of people already do, including those who’ve just learned the word and need a target to test it on, but who will probably never realize the repercussions of shouting it.

Here’s the thing: High school sucks.

So don’t believe the few people in your graduating class who’re saying that high school is the best four years of your life.

They’re clearly delusional.

Or they’ve gotten laid.

The point is, they’ve probably peaked tragically early, and will have little in the way of good times in the future. (In a few years, this new thing called Facebook will make it easier for you to realize this.)

But you know what? The fact that you’re processing such crazy-intense feelings at your age, in this context, is a feat in and of itself. A lot of people you’ll meet still won’t have found some of the base elements of who they are. And while being gay won’t define you as a person, being comfortable with your identity will help you build upon the strengths you already possess, but which need a bit of nurturing.

Identifying as gay will take a lot of mental and physical strength. You’re going to put your body and mind through an emotional wringer, trying to shoehorn yourself into an idealized notion of what it is to be gay.

But you won’t reach that point. Because, in the process, you’re going to hit rock bottom, only to come out bruised, but stronger nonetheless.

This process won’t happen over just a few years.

You’ll hit a handful of rough patches, each of which will test your resolve.

And you’ll gain clarity in the most unexpected ways.

You’ll come out to your family, and will be thankful for their support.

And you’ll write to that guy from high school who had the stones to come out when he did, who dealt with the crap people threw his way, to tell him that he was probably more inspirational to questioning students than he’ll ever know.

And you’ll get a response back. And you’ll have some sort of odd closure.

You’ll push yourself out of your comfort zone, and it’ll pay off.

You’ll become more invested in fighting for LGBT rights.

You’ll find your voice time after time.

Me speaking out against NC's bigoted Amendment One.

Your family will find theirs, and will help people in your hometown.

You’ll become part of a chosen family at a local community center.

And you’ll walk alongside others marching for equal rights.

Rally sign for Ides of Love, 2012.

You’ll gripe about failed dates, and you’ll vow to never go on any again.

You’ll meet an amazing guy when you least expect it, and you’ll be happy.

The duo on our way back from NYC, 2012.

You’ll be happy.

Love,

An Older, Wiser You

 

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Why Seconds Matter

Did you ever see the movie 8 Seconds?

Neither did I.

But I really wanted to. Not just because it starred Luke Perry, and had so much talk of riding and bucking.

(Clearly, I was trying to figure something out in 1994.)

Mostly, though, it was because I was fascinated by time.

How quickly it changes, and how so much history and experience can be compressed into mere seconds and still pack a punch.

Like how much of a wallop President Obama packed into 13 seconds.

***

Even though I’d read a few quotes from his inauguration speech on Facebook, my heart still jumped when I listened to his speech tonight. When he mentioned Stonewall, and Dr. King and so many great leaders in the same breath.

And, yes, there were tears too.

(I’m an emotional Italian. Yes, I know that’s redundant.)

But then he just kept going.

And that’s what struck me. The fact that he didn’t stop with Stonewall.

The fact that his tone has evolved from its more subdued debate volume into a booming declaration.

The fact that, during the next four years, LGBTs stand the greatest chance of having our rights realized than ever before.

The fact that he appealed to everyone.

Not just white people.

Not just rich people.

Not just straight people.

His thematic thread was spun directly from the Constitution–that revered piece of paper that governs so many, and holds within it so much potential.

And I can only hope that, through the efforts of us all, We the People will weave a more perfect and colorful union.

Where the air that we breathe is a little cleaner, the forests a bit thicker.

Where healthcare isn’t a luxury, a preexisting condition a denial of service.

Where the bodies of all aren’t the purview of a phallic few.

Where we are all, first and foremost, people with certain inalienable rights.

And that those rights are conferred upon us all.

Happy Inauguration and MLK Jr. Day, 2013!