Monday, May 07, 2012

The Most Enduring Lesson

A hundred years ago (if it didn't happen in the past two weeks, might as well have been 100 years ago), but more realistically 20+ years ago, I had an internship.  My internship placement was with a women's advocacy center.  My on-campus supervisor was a favorite professor.  This professor was a lesbian.  She didn't wear t-shirts proclaiming it, but she was genuine and honest about it, as it was just one of the many facets of her person.  My agency supervisor was also a lesbian, although much more subtle about it.  She would speak about her partner with a nonchalance that you might think she was speaking of a friend or neighbor.

I was at a young, impressionable age.  The Phenom and I were at the start of our relationship, and I was pretty comfortable using the phrase "my boyfriend" 100 times a day.

During a meeting between my two supervisors to discuss the expectations of the internship, they realized that they each knew, socially, the others partner, but had never met each other.  While watching this conversation, I realized that they both were talking about their partners in fairly generic terms, even though we were in a private office and everyone in the room knew what the situation actually was.

I was struck at how lucky I was that I could openly and freely talk about the love of my life . . . as the love of my life.  And, they couldn't.  Even in private, they were cautious and concerned that they might find themselves being judged or even attacked.

Twenty some odd years into the future, and my agency supervisor is open about her relationship.  She lives in a community where she is safe from close minded types.  But, she's lucky.

We need to vote down Amendment 1 . . . not because it opens a pathway to gay people getting married in this state (we have a long, long way before we get there) and not because the only people this amendment will truly harm are the most vulnerable amongst us and not because you don't use the constitution to deny rights to some that others gain by virtue of their birth.  But, we need to vote against this hateful legislation to tell people who live in daily fear of judgement and violence, we see you and we want you to be safe.

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