This did not happen by pure grace or accident. It took years of protests and demands for equal rights. It took Stonewall where gays and lesbians refused to let the police do what police had always done which was to shame and arrest them and they fought back. It took literature, it took the AIDS crisis, it took lawmakers brave enough to step forward and support gay rights. It took kids who were brave enough to come out of the closet and say, "There is nothing wrong with me. I am who I am and I deserve the same rights as any other kids." Who refused to be bullied. Who refused to be shamed back into the closet. It took Rock Hudson's death. It took Ellen Degeneres, it took Rosie O'Donnell, it took families who supported their kids in every way. It took PFLAG, it took Will and Grace, it took that couple down the street who refused to pretend that they were roommates and who came to community potlucks with casseroles and kids in strollers and matching gold bands on their left hands. It took couples who had no desire to become public figures but who had been together so long that it became unbearable for them to not only pretend they weren't together but to demand military benefits, spousal benefits when it came to health insurance and social security benefits and the rights to be with their loved ones in hospitals as spouses who had more right than a family of birth which had abandoned their gay sons and lesbian daughters until they ended up in hospitals and maintained that they were the ones who legally had the rights to determine medical care for children they had perhaps not seen in many, many years. It has taken dignity and honor and anger and patience and impatience and the absolute refusal to remain under the cover of darkness. It has taken gay pride parades. It took flaming queens and bull dykes, it took what we used to refer to as "lipstick lesbians" who presented themselves as part of a community which refused to be judged on how they had been born. It took victims of the sorts of therapy which promised to change one's sexual orientation to finally step forward and say, "This is bullshit! I have no need to change and I couldn't if I wanted to!" It took your aunt, your brother, your daughter, your grandmother who began to refuse to pretend that their partners were simply good friends and quite frankly told family members that these were their partners in all ways. It took children who, in telling their parents, were at grave risk of being kicked out of the family, being told they were sinners and were no longer welcome in their own homes. It took Harvey Milk, it took Matthew Shepherd. It took ministers speaking compassion and truth from the pulpits, it took teachers who accepted kids the way they were and supported them when perhaps families at home did not.
I could go on for days. And now there are laws which ensure so many of the civil rights that cis-gendered people have enjoyed just by accident of birth. The Supreme Court has ruled that love is love and cannot be denied on basis of gender.
And yet. Here we are, fighting again, this time over the rights of transgendered people and it makes my heart sick.
These "bathroom bills" as they are known are so destructive and so ridiculous. To be told that you can only use a public restroom designated to the gender given to you on your birth certificate. I mean- there's really no way to determine, in many cases, whose birth certificate needs verifying. In the name of equality should we all have to show our birth certificates to government-employed bathroom attendants?
Hell, I had a distant relative whom I would have sworn was a transgendered female had I not known that she did indeed give birth several times. But if I had been the bathroom police, I would have asked to see her birth certificate if that were the sort of thing I was concerned about.
And as always with these issues of civil rights, the religious right is behind so much of it. Whether it's slavery or homosexuality, you can find a place in the Bible that proves your point. Unless you're looking to Jesus for the final word in which case you won't find it.
When I am feeling compassionate about it all, I try to remember that these people operate out of fear and out of ignorance but as Jessie and I agreed the other day, there are an infinite number of ways to educate yourself on these issues and those who refuse to do so do so out of blind hatred and closed-mindedness and there goes my compassion.
Yes. Changes have happened far faster than I thought they would but as with most things, it's one step forward and two steps back. The struggle continues and all anyone is asking for is equal rights, equal protection under the law. And don't even talk to me about the founding fathers and what they would have wanted. Fuck that. They wanted slaves and they had them. They wanted men to be the rulers and they got that. It's taken many years for our country to realize that at least in some ways, the Constitution was a flawed document, however ground-breaking and amazing it was for its era.
And now we do have equal rights (at least under the law, if not in reality) for people of color and for women and yes, even for same-sex couples. And we have leaders from the president on down who do speak of the rights of the transgendered. But the battle is still ongoing and as with all of these issues, it's going to take a lot of people who refuse to be defined by their sex organs and it's going to take a lot of people who do not suffer fools gladly and refuse to do business with the states who pass these laws, who refuse to remain silent because this issue "does not affect them."
Just as no one should let someone get by with telling a joke that is obviously racist or someone using words which are not acceptable to describe someone who is differently abled, we should not remain silent when people spew their fear and ignorance about the LGBTQ community. I don't care if people like Donald Trump ARE making certain people feel as if it's acceptable to do these things, it is not. And we, who try to act always out of love and compassion and who are able to at least try to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, have to stand up, be brave, tell the truth and shame the devil.
Well, at least that's how I see it.
I want my grandbabies to grow up in a world where we accept each other on the basis of who they are, not what they are. Where the vast diversity of humans on this earth is celebrated, not vilified.
I couldn't pick Chris Hemsworth out of a line-up of two but I love him for what he told his daughter.
All right. I'll put my soapbox back under the counter but goddamn it! Sometimes I just have to step up and make my say.
All love...Ms. Moon
P.S. I am most grateful for all of the differently-gendered people I have come to know and love in my life. They have expanded my definition of normalcy, educated me, loved me, and filled my heart with their strength, their quiet bravery, and their refusal to stay silent.
Also, they are absolutely, without doubt, some of the best people, parents, and friends anyone could ever know. I am blessed with their presences in my life. And I am pretty sure they know that.