I consider myself to be politically active and involved, for a multitude of reasons. It's important to me to educate myself on the laws and decisions that affect me and my family personally. I also consider it doubly important for those in the LGBTQ community to educate themselves. A politically ignorant lesbian/gay is like a fish out of water (to me). Why would we leave ourselves incapable of discussing the importance of political progressiveness (read: the law) in regards to our lives and community needs? (*insert big, grand shrug here*)
Along with my political involvement, I became involved in online political discussions/discussion boards over the last 5 years or so. The online world of politics can be as nasty (if not nastier) as the one that plays out on our televisions and in our government on a daily basis.
I'll be honest though and say that I love a good political discussion (especially online). I crave the back and forth, not only because I often come away from these situations having learned a thing or two, but because I relish the opportunity to educate others in regards to the lives of gays and lesbians. And furthermore, I hold hope that my words may challenge the ignorance we encounter so often in the LGBTQ community and that someone, anyone, even if it's only one, will learn something new and will leave questioning their previous beliefs on equal rights for gays and lesbians.
A few years ago I met "M". "M" was a member of a message board I frequented. He loved political discussions as much as I, and he especially loved to get in the "ring" with me. He would often send me messages after we had verbally sparred thanking me for the discussion and saying that he appreciated the fact that I "made him think". The one thing M never did was change his mind. He once said he liked political discussions just because he liked to debate, and that he at times argued positions opposite to his personal beliefs simply to challenge himself. Frankly, I found him to be a bit of a freak (because who would argue just to argue) and frequently became frustrated by his personal views and opinions.
M could always be found participating in the discussions about same sex marriage. I'll allow M to tell you his views on same sex marriage:
"Jen, you have equal rights. You, just like any other woman, can marry any man you want. No woman can marry a woman. You're not asking for equal rights. You're asking for special rights."
I (usually) resisted calling him an ignorant ass, and instead discussed the legal arguments for same sex marriage, including the rights we are denied as gays and lesbians that heterosexual couples are automatically afforded by our federal government once they marry. M's position never changed. And conversely, neither did mine.
I should add that UncleR participated in many of the discussions with M as well. UncleR was on the receiving end of many of M's opinions...and they were always the same as I listed above.
A few months ago, I received a message from M, simply titled "Evolvement".
In part, it read:
"I have decided that the next time it comes before the voters, I'll be voting in favor of your side.
Two things have made me come to that decision, the first is my conversations with the two of you, and the second was my soul searching on me getting married again. I've struck out two times in the past, and I wasn't sure if I would or should ever give it another try. In my discussions with myself about it, I realized a lot of the truth in what you have been telling me.
Anyway, two weeks ago, I asked ***** to marry me in front the the castle at Disneyland. Today we confirmed the date and we are going to get married on *******.
I hope that in the not too distant future you can enjoy the same opportunities I am afforded."
M says he evolved. I don't know if that's true. Here's what I do know...
His "real life" bumped into his virtual life. And he couldn't reconcile the two. He calls it "evolvement". I believe he was able to identify with the want and need that same sex couples have to marry. All of my factual and legal arguments made no difference to M. What made a difference was his personal experiences and the fact that he fell in love.
It is our duty, it is MY duty, as gays and lesbians, to continue to make our fight for equality vocal. Although at times the fight seems endless and the task insurmountable, each and every changed mind, each and every "evolved" individual, is one step closer to the ultimate goal of equality.
One person down...millions more to go...