The fight is full on people and we are in count down mode in three states over ballot initiatives that range from marriage equality to fair housing in Kalamazoo Michigan. Everyone is putting out the call to do what you can to contribute to these campaigns. I would like to add that what happens in these campaigns will likely effect California's rebid for gay marriage in 2010, hopefully before they modify our constitution....but that's another topic altogether.
Of all the things that we can do, the most effect thing is just simple conversation. You would think, that in this day and age, EVERYONE would know about the struggle for marriage equality...but sadly this is not true. Many people have no one to talk to about it so that leaves them at the mercy of their church or to conflicting t.v. ads.
There was a great post In Queerty yesterday about a young mans experience campaigning for marriage equality in Maine. In it, a particular incident caught my eye:
Daniel, a member of our canvassing troupe, knocked on the door of a woman who said she was going to vote "Yes." When Daniel asked why, she said, “Well, because I’m a Christian.” Daniel responded that he was too, and that he thought religion had nothing to do marriage.
After a brief conversation, the woman said she was so glad Daniel had come by, because her friends had influenced most of her opinions. She hadn’t really had the chance to talk about the issues with anyone else, she said. Daniel's two minutes with her might have just scored another "No" vote.
seriously...that was all it took. And in this campaign particularly, when both sides are poling so evenly tied, that one person could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Alot of traditional forms of getting our message heard meet internal resistance by many of us. Going door to door is scary for alot of people and phone banking conjures up images of telemarketers. Standing on a corner and waving a sign means putting your self on the line in a REALLY personal way and is just too unsafe for some. BUT all these things are necessary and needed. If we don't do these things..no one does it for us.
All of these actions carry out this most basic need to talk to the people who will be voting on our rights, many of whom have no one in their life who can give them a a different perspective than what they see on t.v. They need to know us beyond "Will and Grace'...beyond "Glee" or "Madmen"... or the "700 club". Don't let someone else tell our story...we need to tell it.
I HATE putting myself out there publicly...so I fully sympathise with those who let out a big sigh with considering it. However, the main point I make here isn't that we all need to get over our fear and march to the nearest street corner....just TALK to people. You may be their only window into our lives. Whether its coming out to family and friends or just broaching the conversation in the break room at lunch for general discussion. Not every conversation need take place as a part of a political function. We need to take away the fear that we are a shadowy cabal bent on destroying the country...we need to show that we are regular people with lives just like theirs . This often happens more effectively through an informal, intimate conversation between two human beings than it does because of a march.
This is crunch time for Mainers, Washingtonians, and Michiganites...but also for the rest of too. What happens in these states will reverberate out to similar struggles to come in states like mine. Soon we will have to be out on those street corners again hoping that the citizens of California will have learned a lesson from Prop 8. There will be signs, marches, rallies, and phone banks galore. The sense of deja vu will be staggering but we can't get tired and we can't give up. Not only for ourselves but for, a those who will come after us and for countless other families also in need of the protections marriage offers.