Monthly Archives: June 2013

Marriage Equality: A Long Road

This morning I awoke to a text message from my sister reading: It’s all happening…

As I pulled up CNN on my phone, tears began streaming down my face. The Supreme Court of the United States has deemed key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a 5-4 vote. From the time I could understand what love and marriage were, I couldn’t understand why some people were allowed to participate and some weren’t. This comes in large part from growing up in the family I did; there was never a distinction made between the straight couples and the gay couples in mine and my parents’ lives. There was never even a label put on anyone because my mother, being the free-spirited soul that she was, frankly did not care for labels. Even as a child, I knew this was an injustice and I dreamed of the day it would be righted.

Two weeks after my 18th birthday, my mother informed me that this mid-term election, the first I’d be eligible to vote in, would include a ban on “non-traditional” forms of marriage in the State of Texas. We volunteered for an organization called No Nonsense in November, which worked tirelessly to prevent the law from passing. It was a lesson in community activism. It was also a lesson in disappointment; the bill passed overwhelmingly in every county except for Travis (where my hometown of Austin lies).

Impassioned by rage and informed by facts, the FACT was that this was discrimination; no other way to put it, I wrote my college essay on this topic and was accepted into Northeastern University in Boston, MA. At the time, Massachusetts was the only state in the union that recognized marriage equality. While I was in school, I attended the Pride Parade where I saw Gov. Deval Patrick marching with his daughter. This was something I never could have imagined growing up. We were moving forward.

This was also the time I met the love of my life, but without equality for everyone, I knew I couldn’t participate in marriage as it was defined in the US. Luckily for me, most college-aged men are terrified of marriage so this was not a problem. After graduation, we moved to NYC, where one year later marriage equality was approved in the State of New York. It being the 6th state to do so, I told my person that we only had 44 more states to go and I would get down on my knees and ask him to be my husband. He laughed and assured me he would say no.

We’re in love.

Today I am writing this from West Hollywood, CA where residents can celebrate the return of marriage equality and I couldn’t be prouder to celebrate with them. I have love in my heart and goosebumps on my arms. We didn’t get everything we wanted today, but the train has left the station. My advice to those still holding onto what they deem “traditional” marriage: get on board or get the hell out of the way.

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The Beauty of Being Home

It’s funny how being around people from your past makes you revert, in a way, to who you were when you first knew them. I feel so grateful to have reconnected with a few friends from my childhood now that we’re all grown up. The really stark contrast I notice is how much I, and they, have changed over the past decade and how, in a way, we are all still the same. The mannerisms of these adults seem no different to me than their pre-teen counterparts when, in truth, they have undergone massive transformations for which I was not there. It saddens me a bit to see how much I have missed out on having moved so far away after high school. With that said, I may be even more overjoyed by the knowledge that, for some friends, time and distance are irrelevant.

During this trip to Texas, and being on the verge of yet another transition as my person and I prepare to move to North Carolina, I have been blessed to spend real quality time with friends I have known since they days of sleepovers and school dances. There must be some kind of unbreakable bond formed with people you go through puberty with because, even with years and miles between us, I feel myself falling back into the same skin I wore at age 12. The conversation feels the same, the laughter feels the same and the beautiful, indescribable sense of belonging has made me sure that, regardless of no longer having a house here, this will always be my home.

Home is a loaded word. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, myself included. I just left a home in Queens that I loved and am about to move into a new home in North Carolina, which I’m incredibly excited about. My mom’s home is in heaven and my dad’s home is whichever trout stream he’s standing in and yet, somehow, Austin remains the home in my heart. I guess that’s one of the funny things about life; no matter how much you move or how many homes you rack up, there will always be the one from which you came that, if you’re lucky, you can always return to and find the person you started out as on your way to becoming who you are. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find a few of the people you started out with and be a part of each other’s journeys yet again. I’m one of the really lucky ones.

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