Dear people of California:
Do you know what it feels like to have your heart torn out and stomped on?
Because if not, I invite you to spend an hour as me. Specifically, the hour starting when I woke up this morning and checked the Secretary of State's website to find that there was no longer any doubt: Prop. 8 is passing.
That was my life you just legislated. My future. My dreams. It had nothing to do with you.
More than that, I trusted you. I felt safe. California's been the state with the best protections for GLBT people for as long as I've known anything about it. It's been the state I could be proud to belong to even when I was ashamed of my country. Now that's all flipped upside down. I'm proud of my country today, but ashamed of my state. I don't feel safe -- if this could happen now, here, what's next? And I definitely don't trust you. Not with my life. Not with my safety. Not with my basic rights. Because you've shown that I can't.
I'm a Christian. I believe in forgiveness and turning the other cheek. But right now I wish I could package up all the pain and rage and grief in my heart right now and make every person who drew that line on their ballot feel them, so that you could understand what you've done. I wish I could be, right now, on every street corner in the state, saying this for all of you to hear. I want you to know this isn't an abstract issue. This is about real people's real lives. This is about my wedding day, which may never come now. This is about the kids who threw stuff at me on the bus because I wanted them to stop using "gay" as an insult. This is about the fifteen-year-old who was shot through the head at school for being gay and crossdressing. It's about the flash of fear I feel whenever I come out to a stranger, even in my little bubble of gay-friendliness that is Santa Cruz proper. It's about a society that hurts people for being different.
People like me.
I love this state. I love its people. I think it wouldn't hurt so much if I didn't, because being attacked by people you love is the deepest kind of betrayal. And so I'm in great pain right now. Last night for the first time in my life I deliberately got drunk, and it was because of Prop. 8. When I figured out, a week ago, how I would kill myself if I ever were that desperate, the reason I thought about it was Prop. 8. Today when I lay on the floor of my home crying and my family couldn't comfort me, it was because of Prop. 8.
What have you accomplished? Nothing. There was no threat to your religious freedoms -- churches were not, are not and will never be required to marry anyone. There was no danger of "children being taught homosexuality in schools" -- children are already and will still be taught that some of their peers may have two moms or two dads, and sex ed will not be changed. Besides, teaching children that homosexuality exists isn't a bad thing. It will not make them gay, only help keep the gay ones (yes, there are gay children!) and the children of gay couples from being beaten up -- hardly a dangerous result. You see, being gay is not a choice -- or do you seriously think I woke up one morning and went "hey, self, I sure would like to be a member of a hated minority and have to fight for the basic civil rights that everyone else takes for granted"? Prop. 8 accomplished nothing. It just fueled a culture of hate and injustice that I was beginning to hope was dying out. Congratulations, California. I hope you're damn' proud of yourselves.