On Tuesday, D and I took RR to a marriage equality rally. The path to the rally was a long one for me; I’m not much of an activist and I worry constantly about crazy people. Perhaps it’s just cowardice. Standing on a corner with a marriage equality sign feels like an invitation for harm. It seems safer to go to the nearest big city and join thousands rather then to stay in our small town and hope that more than ten people show up.
We decided to go because we feel like it matters to be visible. It doesn’t matter to the Supreme Court. They aren’t going to take our chants into perspective. It doesn’t matter to our governor. It almost doesn’t even matter to the public since there is no ballot decision to plead for. It does matter that, when it comes time to vote, faces and stories are attached to the issues. History shows that often people have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into territory that is new and unfamiliar. That the status quo is good enough. That second class citizens should pipe down. Stop talking about it already.
D made signs (because why not go for it if you’re going to do it at all) and we recognized, that by bringing an adorable toddler, we might be photographed. Apparently, toddlers are worth more on the market than you’d expect. We were photographed AND interviewed. A lot.
First we talked to a news crew. The reporter lobed relatively easy questions at us, I only teared up once, and I had good, smart facts at hand. I wish I’d had some nice intern to draft me talking points, though, because I didn’t quite convey how ridiculous I thought it was that some folks think their opinions about my marriage are more valid than my opinions (wherein I made an unfortunate boat analogy) and so I will not be linking to that interview.
A reporter from a weekly paper snapped a pic and carefully jotted down our names (this did not help her in print) and put it in the paper in photographic ‘Sign o’ the Times’ section.
That’s right, my wonderful wife made us signs. I’m pretty sure RR’s sign carried the day. For the record, we dressed her in an adorable, warm, outfit that she soaked from head to toe during her nap (what did they do, just leave OFF the diaper?). They redressed her in the weird, ill-fitting, summer clothes that we left in her drawer.
We met at one end of a small pedestrian mall and kicked the rally off with a couple of feel-good, gays are wonderful, stories. I feel like there is a false sense of security in those (as much as I think they are important). I worry about hate in the corners. But when you’ve got a kid and a sign and a hot wife, you’ve just got to own up to the fact that you’re very queer and here and so forth. We marched (which is really just fast walking) to the courthouse a few blocks away and stood on the busy corner chanting, singing and being present.
You guys, so many people honked in support. There were smiling photographs. Thumbs up. Waving from bicyclists and joggers. No one yelled anything horrid and no one committed my worst fear, which is to pull up and fire shots into the crowd. RR, child of outrageous screaming and violent objections to crowds, handled the 50 people, honking cars, cold winds and chanting with aplomb and at the end said words I never thought I’d hear from her little mouth, “I had fun, mamas. I liked those people.” We do too, baby, we do too.
In the end, we met lots of folks and smiled for lots of pictures. We thanked the allies that joined us and I was reminded, once again, what fantastic friends we have here. We fielded one question from the town’s paper about why we chose to bring RR. I’ll tell you what I told him. The issue of equality is a part of her life. It has a major impact on her safety and security and will be a pivotal issue through her formative years. Whether she chooses it or not, she is part of a civil rights movement. I know some of you don’t agree with bringing a child to a rally or arming her with a cute sign. But this is who her family is. We rally. And because of that, they put us on the front page of the paper the next day.
We didn’t expect quite THAT much coverage. A friend’s mom who, based on her ability to be recognized by everyone in a three mile radius, is a veritable fixture in the community, mentioned to the paper’s photographer that it would be great to put RR on the front page. He shook his head and invoked the conservative editor and we all shrugged hopelessly and expected to be buried in the lifestyle section – if the story ran at all. The FRONT PAGE, ya’ll. Our friend deserves thanks for having such an awesome mom.
Next up: Celebrity Status.