Sunday, November 16, 2008
On Morality, of Sorts
--image by Kristen Blackmore, from SFist.com
On Saturday, November 15, my roommates and I biked down to the San Francisco City Hall to Join the Impact against Proposition 8. We arrived around noon, two hours after the rally had begun in 80 cities around the United States, and the lawn before the Civic Center was crowded with thousands of protesters. We wove through recently-married gay couples wearing wedding dresses and allies waving "another straight against h8te." There was nowhere to stand, so we wandered over to the Slow Food Victory Garden and perched atop hay bales. The sun beat down an almost impenetrable ray of civic justice, and yet the only speaker I could actually hear was a Baptist preacher. His voice had that hearty, scratchy pitch of someone who is accustomed to raising it high enough to be heard. He referenced the beginning of his education in civil rights at the death of Emmett Till, and argued that Christian fundamentalists and Evangelicals do not understand the hypocrisy of their "moral" argument.
--image from Flickr, by Generick11
My adolescence was highlighted by the infamous decisions of unfortunate politicians, whether it was George Bush Sr. throwing up in Japan, Clinton getting impeached for an immaturity not worthy of the Oval Office, or the various embarrassments and tragedies that have been the Dubya administration. And now, finally, the change I am witnessing has the potential to make our lives better. Thus, the pots and pans of November 4, 2008.
And yet, the civil rights movement is not over, nor will it ever be. The perception of homosexuality and all non-heterosexual communities has evolved at an almost incredible rate during my lifetime. I will never forget how the word "gay" was such an accepted insult when I was in junior high, or how risky it felt to join a Gay-Straight Alliance in high school. I'm straight, and yet I still feel the intensity of that association as a teenager.
Eight years later, it feels almost criminal not to be an ally. Being human is being human, regardless of where we're from, what we look like, or who we love. I live in one of the "gayest" cities in the world, and instead of feeling threatened by the non-traditional or the unexpected, I'm more comfortable because of it.
Yesterday was a full day. After the protest, I met up with Laurel at the Green Festival downtown, an indoor sustainability fair with a seemingly endless supply of free samples. In the evening, we headed down to the Box Theatre in Potrero Hill to see a dance performance that benefited the Darfur Women's Center. I forgot how effective nonverbal communication can be sometimes. It was an evening of expression, and the movements of last night, combined with the images of the protest and the festival, have slid through the microfilm of my mind all day. Politics and art have been chewing away at my brain these days, and for the first time in a long time, they are a source of inspiration.