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Can't Stop the Signal

My unalloyed joy from last night has been dampened a bit today by sick heartache on behalf of my brothers and sisters in California.

( I remember, being 20-ish and fairly newly out, explaining to my mom that saying someone was "family" meant that they were gay.)

When the SJC decision on marriage equality here in Massachusetts first came down, I could hardly stand to think about it--we were just being taunted with the promise of something we weren't really going to get to have. 

But the decision stood, and J and I were part of the historic throng to register in Cambridge City Hall at midnight on that first day (couple #214--the actual time of our registration was after 4 AM.) 

When the ballot referendum raised its head here (and it was far less vicious--it disallowed future marriages, but preserved the ones already enacted, a sort of bizarre kind of twist on the Endangered Species' Act), we seriously investigated the ins and outs of emigrating to Canada.  We just couldn't bear the thought of going backward.

Today I have a deepened sense of gratitude that my own neighbors chose to the do the right thing.   And I'm clinging fiercely to my two favorite media images of Obama's victory so far.

The first one is a beautiful pic in any circumstances--it drew my eye immediately amongst the collage of various newspapers showcased on the Daily Kos, and it was a whole second thrill to glance at the masthead and see that it was, in fact, the front page of the Tuscaloosa News.

As to the second--I don't generally follow political cartoons, so for all I know, the artist in question could be a nationally-syndicated Big Name, but I found it by following a link on the website of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where I'd gone trying to figure out whyinthehell they still hadn't called Georgia as of 8 AM. 

I spent 4 years each in T-town and Hotlanta (as they were fondly known in the circles I ran with while there) and the concurrence of this election's events has called up some really specific memories.

Like dropping by my Dept Chair's office at the University of Alabama to say, um, I was on the local news last night.  Talking about how the conference the LGB Alliance is sponsoring this weekend is academic.  So the state AG's threat to come to campus and personally shut it down by citing the sodomy law isn't really relevant.  (I was a grad TA, with 2 sections of freshman comp, and didn't want his first word to be some outraged parental phone call.)

Or being on the panel of my hardest Speakers' Bureau ever, while at Emory--Speakers Bureaus can be great educational tools, but they can also be opportunities for a bunch of college kids to sling inane or insulting questions at you from the 70-person anonymity afforded by their required Human Sexuality lecture. 

Having been scheduled weeks in advance, it turned out to be the day the Matthew Shepard story broke.  I don't recall what they said or what I said-- just showing up at the lecture hall, bitterly tired of the idea that they were entitled to ask questions at all, that we needed to be there to entreat their forbearance or understanding or anygoddamnthing.

I found both images this morning before seeing the Prop 8 results, and I was surprised at how much seeing evidence of goodwill for our President-Elect from those quarters meant, a sense of  pride and affection for these communities that I once called home. 

I don't know what comes next in the battle for marriage equality in California, or the battles to achieve it in all the other states in this fine nation.  For full recognition of the human rights of all of America's lesbian and gay citizens.  But I know the day will come, because we've set our voices loose in the world and, by God, we've got the evidence that such signals can't be stopped.