I could write about the historic moment we have achieved, the victory of our first person of color as president. But there are dozens of blogs all over the internet speaking to this issue more eloquently and heartfully than I can right now.
Right now, for me, the victory is a hollow one. For myself and millions of LGBT Californians and our allies, it is no victory at all. While the nation declared its support for President-Elect Obama, 52% of my fellow Californians declared that they don't think I deserve to share the rights they enjoy. 52% of my fellow Californians told me in no uncertain terms that I am a second-class citizen.
The legal challenges have already begun, of course. The City of San Francisco has filed suit. I wish them the best of luck. The fact that Prop H8 does not invalidate those marriages already performed in California has set us up beautifully for a second court challenge, because we now have a divide within the LGBT community - some of us may not marry, and some of us are married. We still have recourse to get around this horrible setback. The fight is far from over.
But I cannot forget that, even when we take it to court and win, even when we force the State and eventually, the Nation to recognize us as full citizens deserving of equal protection under the law...there was still a declaration, among the people of my beloved home state, that You Are Less Than We Are. One of the staunchest pillars of my sanity here in exile has been pride in my true home. I could happily remind people, No, I'm not from here. I'm from California. I laughed and danced in the aisles of the PX when Mom texted me about the victory in May. I was as proud as I have ever been to be a Californian.
Prop H8's passage has been a deep wound to my sense of Self, to my identity as a Californian. It has shaken to its core my pride in my home. The only consolation I can find is, I'm not from any of the areas that voted Yes. I'm from the Bay Area, which voted strongly No. That I can retain pride in. But the state as a whole...California, I am ashamed of you.
This has been, to me, like the first real fight of a relationship. You know, you've been together six months or so, and you've been on your bestest behavior and really trying hard to impress hir, you've carefully not bitched about some things that have bothered you, you've been in the honeymoon period. And suddenly that's over. You actually say what you were thinking, and you get into a real fight.
At that point, you face a decision. Is what we've begun worth the fights that will inevitably come from time to time? Will it survive the turbulent waters that rise now and again? Do we call it here and say, Thanks, but No Thanks? Or do we begin the real work of building a relationship that will last?
Yesterday morning was that fight, for me. I contemplated never coming home. I contemplated moving to Massachusetts, where I would be an equal citizen under the law. I thought about, if I came home again, never setting foot in those counties that voted Yes on H8.
But I decided that my relationship, my roots, my heart's homeward pull were too important to sacrifice to this. What kind of a patriot, what kind of an activist would I be if I fled at the first major setback I've known? No. I will come home when I can, and I will keep fighting for my rights. I will never forget that 52% of you told me I was worth less than you. I may not ever forgive it, either. But I will not let it banish me. I will not give up this relationship just because it's hurt me for the first time. I guess my relationship to Home has grown up. The rosy glasses are gone, and I'm forced to acknowledge the ugly side of it. But.
The fight. Is. Not. Over.
I know the day after the election is traditional for post-election punditry. I know. But I needed an extra day to let it all sink in.