“I know we’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go…”

June 26th is a good day to be gay!

As I was walking out of the house this morning, my dad called me, bursting with news that I hadn’t expected to hear until early next week. He wanted to make sure I knew right away that the world was becoming a better place for me and my wife and the rest of the LGBT community. He was thrilled to be the one to tell me and I was so touched to hear how excited he was.

LGBT folks have to fight for their own freedom, but we couldn’t have made the strides we’ve made without having some wonderful allies in our corner. So, today’s a day to celebrate how far we’ve come, but I think it’s also a day to thank the people who helped you get there.

So, here’s to us, LGBT friends, and here’s to our wonderful friends, families, and allies.

But I’d caution us all to remember that tomorrow, when we wake up, we’ll still have battles to fight and ignorance to try and eradicate. We have much to do before we can claim that all citizens are equal in the USA. We’ve won a major battle, but the war on intolerance and prejudice and bigotry is far from over.

As for me, I’m dreaming of a day when coming out won’t be necessary, let alone one of the scariest experiences some of us have. I’m looking forward to a day when no one is bothered if a transgender person uses the bathroom of the gender they identify with. I’m waiting for the day when no kid gets physically attacked for being gay. I want to witness the day when discrimination is just this thing that happened way back when people were still learning how to accept each other and love without prejudice. There’s going to come a time when the idea of tolerance is antiquated because the idea of homophobia will be so archaic that we won’t need to teach people that they have to deal with each others differences, because they just won’t be that important.

I don’t know if I’ll live to see that day, but I’m hopeful. I’d like to live in the kind of country where I can walk hand in hand with my wife with no fear, no matter what region/state/neighborhood we’re walking through.

Still, despite the challenges that remain, I’m going to bed tonight feeling just a bit more welcome in the country I call home and that’s worth celebrating.

Happy LGBT Pride Month, my friends! And here’s to many more years of victories to celebrate.

empire_state_of_pride_by_eldru-d6bafh5

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

Aside

I am writing an angry blog today. I am displeased with this world and the effect I have allowed it to have on how I live.

I went into Old Navy yesterday on a mission to find a t-shirt and some shorts to wear to Pride. I have frequented Old Navy in the past for clothes that are affordable and cute, if not exactly durable, and I expected today to be a day much like any other. I picked out a few shirts to try and checked out their Pride t-shirt for the year and then headed off to look for shorts. Now, this is kind of a big deal for me because my legs haven’t been in shorts since, I don’t know, circa 2001? But I’ve been trying to reclaim my right to love my body and to wear what I want and so I was going to buy a pair of shorts. Only guess what I didn’t find on the shelves? Shorts in my size. Now that might not have been so irritating if they had other large sizes and were just out of stock in mine, even if they were out of stock in every single style. But that wasn’t the case. Old Navy just didn’t have any shorts in the store above a size 16. Well, you know what, that doesn’t include me. And I’m sick of having to feel ashamed of that. So that upset me, because I’ve always been able to find clothes I liked there. But the thing that really incensed me was that I could still find other products in my size. I could find jeans and shirts easy peasy. Just no shorts. “Sorry plus sized folks, but we’re not interested in seeing your legs. Cover those things up!” was the message I took from it loud and clear. Ironic from a company that sells Pride shirts to not encourage all kinds of positive pride. Now to be fair, you can certainly go online and buy some of their shorts in a larger size, but, sorry bigger ladies, they’re not gonna make it as easy on you as they would if you were a little smaller.

Well,l you know what, Old Navy? You can suck it. Because I am AWESOME. I am SICK of letting the world tell me that I am less than because I don’t fit inside their dainty little box. This world has been telling me that because I am fat or because I am queer or because I am a woman, I will never be enough. This crazy world started telling me to be ashamed of myself long before I had any idea that what they were feeding me with their pretty pictures was poison. Even before a girl hits puberty, she’s inundated with messages telling her she should be pretty and thin and that the ultimate goal is for Prince Charming to come and rescue her. 

I’m over it.

My Prince Charming is a woman with ideas and beliefs and curves who is so much more than just beautiful.

And I am not thin. Odds are I never will be, at least not in a way to fit the standards of a glossy magazine.

And I am a woman. If I do things like a girl, I’m not going to apologize for that because I am one and we are fucking amazing.

I have spent the majority of my life feeling like I needed to wear capris so my stretch marks don’t offend anyone. But I wore shorts to Pride this weekend (thank you, Forever 21!) and it was fantastic! And I wore a shirt that showed a little of my stomach if I stretched certain ways, a stomach that is not even slightly flat or unblemished. After spending so much time covering it up and trying to hide the imperfections, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I felt good when I put on my outfit and first looked in the mirror, but not even a minute later I could name a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t be so bold as to wear what I want. This was the first time in probably a decade that I declared myself free of other people’s expectations of what a plus size woman should wear. And it was freaking liberating. And it won’t be the last time. I bought a bathing suit this weekend, too. It comes in two pieces and it doesn’t include a modesty skirt and I am damn well going to wear it to the beach and have an awesome day.

Because I deserve to feel the sun on my skin again and if the world doesn’t like it, they can kiss my big butt.

But let me caution you, that’s so not an #endrant. Because today my country said to me, “Oh you’re a woman? You mean you think it should be up to you and your doctor as to what health care you need? Nope. Sorry. We’re gonna leave that to your employers and they now have a legal right to complete douche-baggery.”

You know what’s ridiculous? Being punished for being born with ovaries. And the punishments just keep rolling in. Equally qualified women rarely make as much money as their male counterparts. Women are much more often the victim of crimes, especially sex crimes. I’m scared when my wife comes home alone at night because I know how often we hear the jeers and catcalls when we’re together, just walking down the street. #yeseverywoman experiences sexual harassment on a near daily basis. And every single one of us can name a time when we’ve been scared to walk alone. Shame on the world for that. And shame on anyone who thinks they have a right to dictate what medical procedures I choose for my body. And shame shame SHAME on all of the victim blamers and slut shamers and misogynists that EVERY WOMAN has to deal with constantly. I am not less than because of the parts I come with. I am AWESOME. And someday the world’s not gonna be too cowardly to accept that.

And while we’re ranting, you know what else is gonna happen based on today’s Supreme Court idiocy? Lots of companies are gonna jump on the religious bandwagon and then where does it stop? Do we get to legalize the right to discriminatory hiring practices? Can employers only offer bonuses to employees who live in keeping with the boss’s moral code? Does corporate America get to decide cancer treatment is against their religion? Or hey, maybe your religion orders you to beat the crap out of gay people and, since you’re running your company that way, if it happens to someone on the clock, that’s totally fine, right?

Gay people. Female people. Fat people. People of color. Short people. Weird people. Religious people. Not so religious people.

There’s an overwhelming theme here. People. We’re all people. When it comes down to it, we all run because for some reason our hearts decide to beat. So maybe it’s time to stop acting like some people are superior to others. Maybe it’s time to start reclaiming our right to be treated as just as important as everyone else. And maybe if a few of us start now, it will catch on.

One pair of shorts at a time.