I'm lucky enough to have been able to surround myself with allies my whole life (thankfully, safe some spaces do exist). I learned early on (from friends of color) that "passing" (as straight) does not do the GLBTQ community any good. And thanks to the support of my friends, family and the music community I have lived. But despite all the comforts I have, I still live my life with many fears.
Every time an equal rights initiative does not pass with 100% vote, or a politician says something fucking ignorant, it hurts. It sends a message. Even if it is 20,000 miles away. I cry. It reminds me that there is hate. It reminds me to watch my back. It reminds me why the suicide rate for gay youth is so high. It reminds me to speak up and speak out. And I am lucky, because It also reminds me that I have an amazing family (blood and chosen).
If you have ever voted to support an equal rights law, do not EVER say your vote doesn’t count, because it counts to someone you know. Deep in their heart, your one vote means something. I have seen (and felt) my rights change in my lifetime. My partner and I had been together for 6 years when gay marriage was legalized just in our home state of Massachusetts, the first state to do so. The message of those 6 years is so deep that I am still dealing with it and nearly 18 years into our relationship, I still struggle to answer the question "Why aren't you married yet?" That is just how deep political messages can hit someone's soul. So please, keep voting and listen and do what Bob Weir told us as Bonnaroo, "Get those assholes out of there!"
I registered voters for HeadCount at Rhode Island Pride in Providence last Saturday with the same amount of love in my heart (a TON) and the same amount of fear and anxiety (minimal but there) that I have had at every one of the many Pride Fests I have attended in my life. There has always been a little bit of fear, but they don't call it PRIDE for nothing. I encourage you all to attend a PRIDE Fest, you will be moved down to your core. And I encourage you to be the best allies you can be. To EVERYONE. And if you're queer or black or tall or old (etc.), then be the best queer or black or tall or old person you can be. ALWAYS.