Marcia’s Law – Don’t Put Your Pride Away
“Do not go gentle into that good night…”
My son was born during what had to be the hottest July on record. We had no air conditioning and, to keep my swelling down, we slept under a fan on the floor in the living room. It didn’t help. By the time he was ready to enter this world, I looked like a giant sausage, and as I informed the Doctor, I was cooked.
But, he came in a rush on his due date. Afterwards, as I lay there exhausted and elated, a very wise nurse told me, “You can never love him enough.”
I think she meant that giving a child all your love means letting go of any preconceived ideas of who he (or she) is destined to become. That takes unconditional love.
And, as his parents, we gave him all the unconditional love we could. But, there was one thing we could not give: equal protection under the law. This is something our unconditional love could not provide. It still eludes us.
When he was born, I wasn’t aware of the issues concerning LGBTQ people in this country. I didn’t know that people were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity. But of course, that all changed when we learned he was gay.
And yes, a lot has changed in this country since his birth. Sodomy laws have been repealed. Homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness. And, in many states, LGBTQ individuals can work, obtain housing, and even marry. But, many more states withhold those basic civil liberties from my son and from all LGBTQ individuals who live, work, or travel through these states.
So, while battles are being fought and won on many fronts:
–North Carolina voters reinforced their discriminatory anti-gay marriage law,
–Wisconsin’s governor signed a bill that prevents LGBTQ people in a committed relationship from having hospital visitation rights,
–Extremist anti-gay groups are poised to disassemble equality laws at all levels.
Sometimes, I wish I could just go about my business and not let these daily assaults on dignity bother me so much. But, that is simply not possible. I take each vitriolic message about the sinfulness of homosexuality as a personal affront. Every repressive law and act of discrimination, bigotry, and hatred is painful to me. And, try as I will, I cannot and will not stop being angry. With each attack, I react with motherly instinct, and I become enraged…Hey, we’re talking about MY SON here!
So, while some might counsel patience and judiciousness, I’m prepared to do battle. I vow to keep writing, talking, and protesting injustice until “every LGBT person is protected from employment discrimination…until children are no longer denied a loving home because same-sex couples are barred from adopting…until every school is a welcoming place free from bullying…and until every family is able to claim the equal rights and respect that come through marriage” (Chad Griffin, President HRC).
I do this with pride. I know that this fight is about justice and civil rights. And, there is nothing more worth fighting for than making sure every single person in this country has the same rights; not different rights, not fewer rights…the SAME rights as everybody else.
So, before we toss those beads into a drawer for another year, put away our banners and signs, and recover from playing and partying, I implore all of us to refocus our energies and continue the crusade to equality.
We cannot stop. Not now. Not when so much is at stake. Our voices must be heard. Our votes must be counted. Our rights and the rights of future generations are at stake. To be silent is tantamount to turning our backs on any hope for equality in this country.
So, “do not go gentle into that good night…” To do that is to give inequality a safe harbor. And we cannot tolerate that.
…And I’m just a mom who loves her son…