Today marks the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell vs. Hodges decision that granted the legal right to wed to same-sex couples across the nation. I recall hearing the news while I was at work. At first I was numb. I didn’t actually believe it. My hands shook. I cried. I reached out to my LGBT friends and colleagues through social media and our interoffice instant messaging system. While most of us were separated by hundreds of miles, I never felt closer to them. The long arc of the moral universe that bends toward justice, as described by Dr. King, finally bent close enough for us to feel it. Suddenly the world felt like a different place. In that one SCOTUS decision, everything changed.
And at the same time, nothing changed. While I suddenly had the right to marry, a social construct that is nearly universally expected, and one which around entire lives are planned, it still didn’t seem like a possibility for me. A single moment in time didn’t change that. I’d never dreamed of it or planned for it. I still don’t feel ready: emotionally, psychologically, or financially.
Society hasn’t really changed that much in two years either. While we’ve made some progress certainly, I still see my life, my rights, my worth as a human being up for debate everywhere I look. Nearly every news cycle has a story on upcoming legislation that would legalize discrimination against me. It’s on Facebook. If a company runs an advertising campaign featuring same-sex couples or they show support for the LGBT community during Pride, there are thousands of comments condemning me to hell or likening me to a child molester or criminal. When an attack is made on us or our establishments, it’s more of the same. Religious leaders instruct their priests and ministers to withhold funeral services from us. It’s even in the technology forums I visit. Sometimes I really just want to geek out and I’m faced with discussion threads like, “Is homosexuality wrong?” and “Is it okay to refuse service to a gay person?” I cannot adequately express just how inescapable and exhausting it is to see the value of your life constantly up for debate. And because of the anniversary of this landmark decision, and because June is Gay Pride month, today will be more of the same.
On a day I should be celebrating, the fact that I have to be careful how far I scroll or where I click is just one reason on top of a hundred why sometimes I am just tired. I am known for my sunny, happy-go-lucky disposition, but maintaining that day in and day out isn’t as easy as I make it look.
Most days I hide my struggle from you, but in doing so I also enable you to contribute to it.
It’s a heavy, double-edged sword all gay people carry.