As the pain of Proposition 8 continues to settle in, a few more voices come to mind. First and foremast is that of anonymous Gordon College student (from If I Told You) who says,
God knows that I am just looking for the same thing everyone else is: a little love in a cold world.Proposition 8 did something that no other anti-gay ballot initiative has done, it took away our rights. Unlike in Arizona or Florida, where the measures were redundant, the CA amendment changed the Constitution to remove protections and privileges for some citizens.
I won’t find that love in my family, my friends, my school, my church, or some random guy.
That love comes from God and is the only thing I have left to hold on to. Don’t try to take it away from me. You can take away my self-esteem and my dignity; you can kick me out of church and deny me rights; you can physically beat me or call me names; you can laugh at me and you can pity me; but you can never, never take away my God.
Or I will no longer be human.
And yet, we are still here. LGBT people and their friends have taken to the streets. Proposition 8 may have erased from the law, but it will not--cannot--erase us completely. The protests and the gatherings may not change policy, they may not even change hearts and minds, but they are a collective cry that "we are still human, we are still human."
I also here Maya Angelou's famous words "Still I Rise"
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
And lastly, I remember the words of Audre Lorde, from The Black Unicorn
A LITANY FOR SURVIVALWe speak in the notes of condolences, we speak in conversations making sense of our lives and our future, we speak as we organize, we speak with signs, we speak with our bodies, we speak in protest, we speak over dinner.
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
We speak, we love, we live. We are here. Proposition 8 is a source of great pain for many, may that pain turn into cries for justice that move a nation. Find your voice, perhaps it starts with a Facebook note, but never let it end. Foster it, nurture it, spread it. It starts out as a thought, "I am as I should be," which turns into a word, which then grows into conversations and discussions, rallies, and movements.
Speak, for that is all you need to do.