Telling Three: “Passion Unites”

San Francisco CA 2004 (#1)

San Francisco CA 2004 (#1)

Today is a bright day in the Bay Area and as we emerge, gradually, into the sun my “loss” mood — sort of — disperses. I got a great email this morning from an old colleague that also helped me feel bright, and I wanted to share it.

Knowing of my involvement in the No On Prop 8 campaign, she, like many of my friends, wanted to personally contact me after watching the deeply moving Courgage Campaign video, Fidelity.  In addition to Fidelity, there’s another parallel initiative happening right now that puts a face on the current affairs of marriage equality: Tell3 — the “pledge to Tell3 people what it’s like for you or your loved ones to be LGBT.” The exchange with my colleague made me think of Tell3.

Particularly at work, coming out — as the only “whatever you are in the room” — can be a scary business. In my job, I work day-to-day with people from all around the world, including places where you could be jailed, or worse, for being gay. I remember that day almost exactly five years ago, when Leanne and I were married at City Hall, and how bubbly and yet awkward I felt when I came back to work after the weekend. I was practically tumbling all over the place that Monday, not able to contain anything about my weekend yet finding myself within the curious confines of a conference room with my team, every single one of whom spoke a different native language than I. Many teammates were surprised when I told them I was married over the weekend. Most were, at a minimum, highly confused or even thought I must have been joking. One told me that I was “brave” — which to this day I still wonder about. How was I brave? I could not say that any one of them was less than supportive, but the moments were not easy.

But every once in awhile I’m reminded of why the clumsy business of just being who I am — this “coming out” — continues to be the brightest, most worthwhile endeavor in my life. That’s how I felt this morning when I read Darlene’s mail:

Michael and I both cried (no laughing!) when we saw the slideshow, and then we signed it (of course) and forwarded it to friends and family members. Oddly enough we’d received it from our old Realtor in Dallas that we hadn’t spoken to in years. What’s so inspiring about that is how passion unites people….even from afar…..and even from those that are not directly involved. If only the world functioned like that for everything we do!

Did I mention that I have THE BESTEST Hubby in the whole world? I thought about it a lot. and I truly cannot imagine how it would feel if state could revoke our marriage. Putting all emotion aside, there’s just no logical/legal justification for the state to reverse/dissolve marriages (of any kind). IMHO, it appears that it’s a purely subjective stance that’s been taken and I don’t see how it could be reversed. Taking a step backward is just too risky for California (known to be trailblazers) and I don’t believe it will happen. My $.02.

“If only the world functioned like that” indeed. But when you do this — when you reach out and come out and share about WHATEVER it is — it does. And that makes all the difference under the sun… Thank you, Darlene, and everyone else who makes it your business to reach out with your stories.

And you, and you, and you: The heroes of No On Prop 8

Much has been written and discussed since November 4, 2008 in the attempt to sort out why our efforts in California against Proposition 8 failed to actually beat the proposition. We should of course study hard and learn from mistakes, and above all move forward with this momentum. But what continues to impress me the most is the collective spirit of giving — of all of your stories — that has taken place as a result of this profound effort. I devoted myself for an all-too-short time to the No On Prop 8 campaign (big thanks to my friend Calla Devlin for that opportunity), and for the record, I am honored to have been a part of it. I believe it has forever changed me in ways I’m not even fully aware of yet. Every one of you who played a part in sharing your stories during the campaign — you have affected me deeply. And you still do.

No On Prop 8 on Facebook

No On Prop 8 on Facebook

Anthony shared how he was a “recovered homophobe” — and how he overcame it. Eric twittered about being alone with a sign down in Los Angeles. A Mormon woman from California reached out, against the formal advice of her community, to say I cannot in mercy vote to destroy the legal protections they now enjoy. Entire families worked on the hard conversations, overcame fear, attended weddings, and wrote about it to others. People sold out the signs and rallied by the thousands. People of any persuasion stepped up for the right thing, to vote no on Prop 8. Steven, a straight man from Utah, stood by us faithfully in support. And every day, Abby sent us a personal dose of encouragement and cheer via Twitter. Those are just a few stories, off the top of my head, and are all YOU. T’was the season of personal giving — and it still is.

No On Prop 8 on Twitter

No On Prop 8 on Twitter

You continue to share your stories in person, on the streets thanks to Join the Impact, and on various social networks: over 172,000 of you on Facebook, 3,200 of you on Twitter, 4,500 on MySpace, and 300 on LinkedIn — which is not to mention the tens of thousands of views on a YouTube channel that rivaled Obama’s in popularity in the days leading up to the election (with — in a first for any political campaign in this country — YOU submitting stories for the official channel) – and the countless blogs and blog comments. I salute YOU.

That’s the real story here: YOU and who you ARE. If you haven’t already noticed, you’re making a big difference, continuing to reinforce that “the lines between what is a blog and what is a mainstream media site become less clear.” (People who work in the courts, by the way — they have the Internet, and they know how to use it.)

No On Prop 8 on LinkedIn

No On Prop 8 on LinkedIn

It is with that spirit that I’m impressed with the organizations involved in the campaign that are striving to bridge the gap between traditional and new media, with the ultimate goal of giving us all a place to be. Check out this page published by the NCLR yesterday:

No longer is it an official press release vs. a blog: it’s just you telling your story. Molly Tafoya recently shared this insight with me: the gift is not to tell people how to feel, but to help people talk about it. To help people share their stories: dare I say that this is the entire point?

Just at this moment @Pistachio comes in, as she is wont to do, with just the right lyric at just the right moment:

“I’m not being radical when I kiss you. I don’t love you to make a point. It’s the hollow of my heart that cries when I miss you.”

“Love is stronger than any words anyway” (Catie Curtis). Find a channel — any channel — but find a channel and, with your words, your pictures, your videos — share about who you are. Because in the end, the most radical thing to do is just to be — who you are.

On the day before the 30th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s death, I can’t say it a better way than this:

“There’s hope for a better tomorrow… And you, and you, and you have got to give them hope.”

PS: I leave you with one more channel:
http://change.gov/page/s/yourstory