“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”
It happened, just as it always does when my friend and I take a road trip. I first noticed it in Hannibal, Missouri…the stare…the look…the frown…We agreed that Mark Twain, who wrote, “Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life,” would have enjoyed the irony of this particular prejudice in his home town…and I let it go.
Then, it happened again just outside of Yosemite when we were checking into a motel; the quizzical glance, again the stare. She told me to stop worrying about what other people think. I considered John Muir who wrote, “The mountains are calling and I must go”…and, again, I let it go.
On a more recent excursion we encountered a waitress who was reluctant to serve us. She “forgot” our order and was…well, almost surly. I related to my friend that she thought we were gay. I reflected that John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I decided that I too needed to look to the future if I wanted to change what was happening in the present…and now, I can no longer “let it go.”
So, my future starts today: I no longer accept being treated as a second-class citizen because of my relationship with my friend. Neither should any LGBTQ individual in this country. It is unconscionable that we tolerate this prejudicial attitude toward loving individuals. It is insulting that our society allows this kind of bigotry.
My friend and I are very close. Our friendship has been forged by the best and the worst of what we have encountered in life. Is it love? Of course it is…In our case, it’s not lesbian love; yet it consists of a deep appreciation of each other, a desire to spend quality time together, a meeting of mind and emotion that is very special. We’re two friends finding joy in each other’s company.
As if any of that should make a difference!
If profiling is happening on a regular and consistent basis with us, it must be happening to my son, to my Gay friends, and to LGBTQ people I don’t even know. How frustrating and tiresome it must be to constantly be on your guard, to look for “safe” places where you are not subject to this kind of condemnation, to be powerless against it. I resent that all it seems to take is a perceived relationship for some people to pass judgment and behave differently. I am past being patient with people whose hate is based on meaningless prejudice.
So, I am declaring an anti-anti-gay campaign starting now, and I hope you will join me in this campaign. Here are my resolutions:
I resolve to:
–Speak out when I encounter prejudice; I recognize that asking people if they have a problem will either shut them up fast or get me thrown out of places.
–Patronize businesses that support gay rights including J.C. Penney, Microsoft, NIKE, and Starbucks.
–Talk to everyone about equality. They’ll probably get sick and tired of me in no time. Then for sure Ill know who my friends are.
–Continue advocating for equality in this column, sending it to anyone I can think of especially if they’re not in favor of equality. Heck, they can put it and me in their trash for all I care…at least I’ll expose them to a different way of thinking.
–Support legislators who are in favor of equality by sending donations, signing petitions, and writing letters.
–Most importantly, call legislators in my district who are anti-equality and tell them I oppose their position on moral grounds. Hate is not a noble position for a politician.
I will do all this not out of anger because “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.” (Mahatma Gandhi). I will do it because I believe I can make a difference.
Doing nothing means nothing will change. If each of us resolves in our own way to take a stand, to speak out, to work toward what is just and fair and right, maybe someday when my friend and I take a road trip, we’ll bring our fishing poles like Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain. I mean; “We outta go down there some weekend. Drink a little whiskey, fish some, get away. You know?” (www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/b/brokeback-mountain-script).
…Or maybe we really will just go fishing.
…And I’m just a mom who loves her son…