Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NEM...And An Introverts Experience In Activism

Tomorrow morning we board the plane to Washington D.C. and I am both excited and nervous. Nervous because I hate flying and excited because, we are about to walk into the largest gathering of gay men and women in recent history...

I'm not sure what I expect when we hit the ground in D.C. Honestly its one of those places on earth I thought I would never see. Its exciting to be heading to seat of our nations government. My mind fills up with stories of history long past and I will be trying to imagine those events occurring in the places we will see. One in particular is the sight of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech". I will be there holding my own dreams in my heart and hoping that the echoes of that fateful day will resonate into the present to lend us all strength.

I hope to see lots of same sex couples holding hands everywhere I go. I hope to see lots of families and their children together. I hope to see...lots of bathrooms...oh yes...please tons of those. There's nothing worse for me and the kids than being at a huge event (I.E. pridemarch) and hearing..."Daddy, I have to pee". Because at that moment, you realize there isn't an available bathroom for Miles! Peeing behind a national treasure is NOT an option...unless of course...the chips are down. Then, all bets are off. Do you think the Obama's would let us use theirs?

But back to the point...

This experience is unlike any I have ever had in my life. Not only going to Washington to protest...but the blog, The website, The youtube video's. The whole enchilada. I am a huge introvert. I prefer a good book to anything social and certainly to public exposure. Sometimes this activism stuff is all a bit overwhelming. One Year ago I wouldn't have considered putting my family would be just too full of hidden dangers. If it wasn't for jay having the desire to do it, I wouldn't have. Strangers watching us eat dinner? way! Also, If it wasn't for Jay helping me have the courage to stand on that street corner waving a "No on 8" sign, I wouldn't have done it. But I am so glad to have had all those experiences. To have done something other than watch it all happen and cry. I have my husband to thank for that.

In Fact, it is usually Jay that helps me overcome my inertia. He has helped me see how important it is to do something and how simple that action can be. Protesting Prop 8 on the street corners was hard for me, I expected to rocks to come flying at any minute, but they didn't. In contrast making video's and writing this blog has been a wonderful experience. It has given me a connection to a larger gay community that I wouldn't have had, being an "innie" and a stay at home dad. I never would have had the courage or ability to get past my own fears.

Since then we have talked to gay folks from across the country, and in places like Egypt, Poland, Peru, Ireland, And more. All of us have helped each other in one way or another. Our attempt to help is by showing that a gay family is not only possible but just like everyone Else's. Others help us by sharing their lives with us. Everyone who Emails us, or send video responses, or meets us in person ads to our understanding of what it means to be gay in this world. They help us understand life outside our little sphere. We love it to hear those stories.

One year later and here we are still doing it. So I have a message for all the other "innies" out there. Its not as hard as you think. There are alot of simple things you can do to help get the message out there:

*Write a blog....every ones got something to say and who knows who might need to hear your voice.

*Got a camera? Make a video for scary you say? This is generally an "innie" no no. That's fine Use our videos. In our last video we gave everyone permission to take our videos and post them were ever you think a little fairness and balance may be needed. Here is the proof:

*Contribute to a campaign that needs funding. The pro-equality campaign in Maine has only collected half as much in contributions as the opposition...any help is both needed and appreciated.

*Talk to the people you are comfortable with....the most powerful tool we have in the struggle for gay rights is talk. Most introvert hate reaching out to strangers...but the people we know need to hear it too. Let people know who we/you are and that we are not the scary monsters conservatives make us out to be.

*Live strong. Sometimes the best revenge against those that want to strip of us our rights is living a good and happy life. Then those that live around you can see what being gay is and how NOT scary it is.

Not every form of activism needs to be sign waving, though that is vital too. All of us can help in some way. But the funny thing is...from this "innies" point of view being forced to carry a sign and march...that half of the effort in activism is in simply showing up. After that, finding your voice isn't so hard.

This will be my last post for a few days unless I can find an Internet connection so take care and keep the light on for us. When we get back I'm sure there will be LOTS to say.


  1. I'm a totally innie, but I went to the March in 93 and it was an amazing experience. I had been out for about a year and to be there to see the diversity of the community up close and in person, it was really enriching for my understanding of the possibilities of gays and lesbians. It was great to see people be who they are whether that's a bull dyke, a lipstick lesbian, a drag queen, a leather daddy, a suburban daddy or a young 20something just starting to figure it all out like myself way back then.

    For financial reasons, I can't go this time around, but I wish you and your family a lot of luck, love, and joy. The experience is worth the trip.

  2. Bryan, being one of your subscribers it is hard to believe that you are an "innie." When that camera is turned on you shine.

    I hope the mainstream media focuses on the average Joe rather than drag queens... I remember they did that in the '90s and was upsetting to me.

    Have fun. Washington is such a neat city. You are going to have a blast!

  3. I want to go so bad! and i´m so far away,
    What i do for the comunity? well I do go preaching how not all gays are flaming and out lifestyle is not a sin and all that to anybody how listen to me... i´m so anoying.
    I hope it goes well, you have fun, the pizza dinner is good ( i mostly want to go to meet you guys) and that the are so many bathrooms that you can choose where to go.

  4. I think I'm a lot like you, Bryan. I consider myself an introvert also, however my online personality is quite a bit more forceful, especially on LGBT and political issues. It was after 9/11 and then a friend's death in 2003 that made me realize the importance of activism, non-complacency and giving back to the world. The last straw was this past year, a family member revealed she voted for yes on 8 and a co-worker of 11 years revealed she doesn't support same-sex marriage. This, in addition to my mother firmly believing I'm going straight to hell for "choosing" to be gay. WTef? I mean, at this point, how could I NOT become involved? All this battering to my fragile psyche has to have a breaking point! So, I donate part of each paycheck to a worthy cause and make sure my family and friends are ALWAYS well-informed on the issues. It's important at this point in my life that these rights we're fighting for are no longer an issue for the next generation of our brothers and sisters.

    Bryan, your blog is great. I think your posts are thoughtful and relevant. My blog is a forum to rant about issues and post silly crap I find on the web. But I found the silly crap is a way to get my family and complacent friends to visit it and then read about the important stuff.

    I wish I was able to join you guys and everyone else in Washington this weekend, but I have a feeling you all will make it a life-changing event. Especially since your family has such a powerful online presence, each video made or blog posted add up to huge differences made in other people's lives.

    Thank Jay for me for getting you online!



  6. hello jay and bryan. and Daniel and Selena. I'm from the Philippines and I recently discovered your videos. I was truly inspired by your family. I really hope me and my boyfriend will have family if not like yours, well a bit like yours. Gay life her in the Philippines is totally different from there in the USA. A lot of issues surround our community and we simply don't address those issues. Well, maybe in some parts of the Philippines, but if you're from one of the islands south of the Philippines, then gay issues are simply ignored. I'm so happy to know that at least somewhere in this world we are living in, there are those who answer to the call of people like us. If things couldn't be better here, well I know its better there. That gives me the hope that amidst the struggles we have in living everyday as who we really are, I can see love, trust and a lasting relationship proven and tested beyond what is defined by our present society as a family.

    You have all my support!

    P.S. i really wish i could talk to you guys.

  7. I love you guys. I hope that next time you come to the East Coast, you can stop off in NYC and let me treat you to a Broadway show or dinner!

    OK, now I am going to make a donation to Maine's No on 1! It's disgusting that we have to pay money in order to merely have a shot of protecting beautiful families like yours. Makes me mad!!

    Have a great march!! I would go if I weren't ill. :(


  8. Introversion can be debilitating to our most priceless ideas. We can appreciate how strong our values are, for what and whom we care about the most become a driving force that shatters our inhibitions.

    We get but one lifetime to figure ourselves out, but what we've figured out as important is immediate, and worth defending. I'm so glad to know you, and proud to stand beside you. :)

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  10. Hi guys. Hope you had a good time in DC. Took part in the march to show my solidarity-wish I could've stayed to hear all the speakers but I've work tomorrow. Nice to see a wide coalition of marchers-straights, families, PFLAG and gays & lesbians. Saw a lot of children and thought I saw your family-I was between the Socialist Party and PFLAG.

    Wasn't sure what to expect since it was my first gay rights event but everything (even the guy in the chicken suit) seemed quite normal. No protesters to be seen. I hope Barney Frank and others realize that you can march and lobby Congress! Hope to see your video especially since my camera ran out of batteries! Take care.

  11. We just got in mere moments ago and boy are we tired after that 5 hour flight! jay is uploading the march footage as we speak. Tommorow I will begin blogging again.