As the world has been fixated on the election so have I and as a result I am well over due for an article. And although my topics generally focus on mental health when the world literally changes overnight so does my blog!
As I watched it all unfold from my living room in a suburb of Los Angeles, two races were on my mind. Of course the presidential election being one and the second, the highly controversial, extraordinarily expensive and heated proposition 8 which sought to ban same-sex marriage in California by changing the state's constitution to include discrimination. Can you tell which side I am on?
At approximately 8:00 pm (Pacific Time) as the polls closed on the west coast, almost instantly the television news anchor announced "we now project that Barak Obama is the President elect" This historic stunning moment took my breath away and will be one of those moments that I will always remember.
And at about 8:05 pm the results started coming in on prop 8 and from overwhelming joy I felt a giant punch in my stomach. Even though the polls were just starting to report, it looked bad. And as expected, when I woke up this morning prop 8 had passed by a narrow margin. How could it be that in one moment a racial barrier was shattered and what was right and just in America conquered racism. And literally in the next moment hate reared its ugly head and division and discrimination through homophobia was given new life.
If you didn't know or hadn't guessed yet, I am a Lesbian. I am proud of who I am. I have a loving partner of almost 14 years, a mortgage, a dog, a job, family and basically living what I think is a pretty normal and uneventful life. I often wonder what have I done to others that I deserve to be treated as less than human. Why was there more attention paid to the treatment of farm animals (prop. 2) in California than human rights? (And I do value farm animals...a lot!).
For those of you not following California politics, just a few months back the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of civil rights and that separate is not equal. And soon after Gay and Lesbians were granted the same rights awarded to every other adult citizen: The right to marry.
It's an odd feeling when you realize how oppressed you were after that oppression is lifted. As bad as all of this is, the worst part in my opinion was before I was granted the right to marry I could only guess what it might be like to have the choice. But, when I was granted "the choice," I now owned something tangible and I changed as a result. I felt accepted by the State of California and for the first time I was no longer less than human. I cannot put into words what that moment felt like. But last night at 8:05 I remembered what I used to feel like just a few months back. It's a demoralizing and alienating feeling to have a right granted to you and then taken away.
For those of you who feel that loss tonight here in California or in another part of the Country know that it's normal to feel angry or depressed or even hopeless. But, please know that you are not alone and we feel this together. I was watching the news yet again tonight and 10,000 protesters marched peacefully on the streets of Los Angeles. I saw in their faces pain and at the same time hope. This battle goes on...