Last month, I attended the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Creating Change conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In attendance were, roughly, 3,500 LGBTQ activists, allies, advocates, lobbyists, justice workers, and those who represent faith communities that are welcoming to all of us.
As I prepared for the work of this conference, I opened up memories of the past year, and the pain that others have shared with me, in the struggle for equality. The struggle, by the way, is getting old. The very fist time that I exchanged information with an LGBTQ civil rights advocate so that we could work on marriage equality, was 21 years ago. I was so much younger and full of fire for the fight.
Now I see how much the fight has cost us. Sometimes I want to wake up and have this all be over and done with. I do not want to read about another family torn apart, another same sex couple denied rights, benefits, and services. And in the worst of the worst case scenarios, I do not want to read about the death of one more partner who trusted that the military, or her company, would do the right thing and release benefits to her partner.
My soul…literally every fiber of my being, is aching for change to come, to see my people treated as equal in the eyes of the law. Will I allow this to define me or my purpose on this earth?
Hell no…because in my world the ultimate source is my higher power. Love. By all of the names that we call our higher power, God, Goddess, Earth Mother, Buddha, Allah, Spirit of Life, The Divine, Maker, the great unknown…I call this love. I have never believed in a punishing God. If there is a source that is greater and all loving then so be it, and let it love each of us equally.
Ahead of me lies a huge and life changing responsibility. I have to deliver the right words to my people, who come to this work open, vulnerable, hungry for knowledge and community, seeking, teaching, working, and often, hurting. Finding the words that are going to help them on their journey has not been the easiest thing for me, so I step back, and I witness. What I see is pain all around me. What I see is a community of civil rights advocates who are not going to allow a second-class citizenship be a reality for any of us.
What I see is hope.
What I see is a pathway of justice burning brightly leading us into the future.
Each one of us can be a contributor to this revolution that is ongoing and being carried out by the few to benefit the many. If you have not written or called a Senator or Representative regarding a piece of legislation or a concern, now is the time.
We need one another, because we cannot walk alone. There will be no marriage equality, or stronger hate crimes legislation, access to adoption for all people, fairness…if we do not do this work together.
Please, waste no time. Use today to join the movement.
This post was written by Sun Principe, an LGBTQ & Immigration Ministry Consultant from Phoenix, Arizona. You can get find Sun on Twitter at @sunprincipe.