I've been struggling with my thoughts on the recent “Day Without a Gay” protest, which sought to rally LGB (T?, the event didn't seem too trans-inclusive) individuals to step out of their daily activities and commit to a day of volunteering for the queer movement.

Gay rights activist and (hot) professor John Corvino penned a very unique article this week, focusing on his complicated friendship with an employee of Focus on the Family:

Glenn Stanton is a friend of mine. He’s also badly wrong about same-sex marriage, and I tell him so—frequently, publicly, and sharply.

Glenn works at Focus on the Family, a premier organization of the religious right. He and I regularly debate same-sex marriage at campuses around the country… he describes us as “highly unlikely but dear friends.” It’s a good description.

John's piece made me think of my own complicated relationships with individuals whom I wouldn't always place as pro-equality.

I think of individuals like my evangelical aunt, who surrounds herself with friends who “hate the sin, love the sinner”. It was thinking of my aunt, and so many others in my life, that ultimately influenced my decision to not participate in “Day Without a Gay”.

 

My aunt is a vibrant woman.My relationship with my aunt is strained, yet I do love her and value her for being in my life. My aunt has been a self-described evangelical far longer than my mind can remember. Her passion for life is through her love of Jesus and faith. She's also been the only visible Republican within my family since before I even knew what politicians did besides make speeches and kiss babies.

Despite her background, my aunt is the least awkward of all my family members to talk to about my life. She always asks me, with her little teasing glare and semi-smirk, if I have a boyfriend. She does stupid things well-intentioned heterosexuals sometimes do, like try and set me up with her desk receptionist. On a personal level she is the kindest, most loving individual I know. It is on the issues where we I'm not so sure.

I'm really not sure where my aunt stands on marriage equality, pro-choice issues, socio-economic justice and other progressive issues that are dear to me. I do know this however. Whatever her stance, I hope that our relationship came to mind when she entered that ballot booth in November to vote on Amendment 2 in Florida, which enshrined homophobia into the state constitution by banning equal marriage.

I blame myself for the passage of amendment 2. The utterance of LGBT issues in a public forum comes so naturally to me, yet in familial settings I become reticent to mention my activism, my life or anything queer. I wonder how my aunt voted, maybe I'll send this post to her.

For me at least, what is needed as a next step forward is not a day without a gay, but a day with a gay x 2. Maybe we can call it a Day With a Queer x 2 to make it more inclusive, or even “Day With Me, All of Me”.

Such a day would be dedicated to encourage out LGBT people to have conversations with those in their everyday lives whom are reticent towards or opposed to equal marriage and other issues.

Our continued presence as out individuals, whether we are out in terms of sexuality or gender identity (or both), are valuable forms of everyday activism that we should never give up, even for a day. Some might say that those not yet on our side of equality are bigots who we should have no association with anyway. I often hear this from people in more urban environments, who have the option of trying to hide themselves in “queer ghettos”. The people I point out are those in our movement who seem to stoop to the same level as right wingers and demean people for their identities, whether those identities be Mormon, Black, Evangelical or Conservative. These people are so militantly out of the closet they've walked right back into it without even knowing.

Choosing to ignore or demean the half of Americans who do not yet support equal marriage is not just unnatural, it is undemocratic and a detriment to our movement. Corvino's post touches on a key benefit to maintaining ties with our political opponents:

We do debates to convince our audiences. He wants them to oppose same-sex marriage, I want them to support it, and we both want them to talk about it, civilly but nonetheless rigorously.

Do I worry that our mutual graciousness makes it too easy for him to feel “open-minded” and “tolerant” while maintaining an anti-gay stance? I would, were it not for the fact that I remind him regularly of how wrong and hurtful that stance is. In my view, such reminders have more weight coming from a sincere friend than a hostile enemy.

For many of us who have gone through a coming out process, we know that some people instinctively accept you for you, while others dig their heels in at opposing your “lifestyle choice”.

As you all know, coming out is an ongoing process, not a one time deal. Most of the people you will come out to in your life will not at first be fully embracing. They may even be demeaning and negative. That doesn't mean they have the level of ignorance to disown you outright. Even if they do, life is long and change is possible.

We would all have very few friends remaining if we demanded full acceptance the moment we decided to come out to people in our lives. We are surrounded by loved ones who have differing levels of previous exposure to our issues.

That uncomfortableness only has a chance of diminishing with your continued presence in the lives of those around you. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor are friendships, nor is understanding. Acceptance and equality will not be won in a day, especially if we fail to show up to put a face to the cause.

So how about it JoinTheImpact? Let's See Day With a Queer x 2. Let's See a “Day With Me. All of Me”. In fact, I think I'll start today. Let me get an envelope and a stamp, I'm mailing this to my aunt. I guess we call today my own personal “Day with a Queer x 2”, “A Day With Me, All of me.

theantidesi101

theantidesi101