Related Articles: LGBT, All

Bittersweet Victory


What a great week to be alive! After our long, uphill battle of the past eight years, the coronation of a new king seemed more surreal than anything. Tears flowed like water in a stream as the city rallied alongside the rest of the nation in support of the greatest symbol of hope Americans have had in this generation. It was an amazing spectacle, and it filled us all with a joy we haven’t collectively expressed in a long time. That joy came rushing out of us in a pulsating frenzy, and the scene that spread across San Francisco, though bittersweet, was palpable.

While Obama was crowned our new reigning king, the gays in the Castro where taking to the streets. Music, lights, and a giant Television blasted the celebration out of the neighborhoods living rooms, and people piled upon each other as they listened to him accept the great task of leading us out of peril. No one was wondering if he could take on that beast, but rather just fulfilled with new attempts at progress. However, as the story of Ann Nixon Cooper took all of us on an emotional voyage through our history, the residents of my neighborhood couldn’t help but be a bit jealous. We had lost our hard-fought fight, and were left once again to feel like second class citizens.

The victory of Tuesday night left a bad taste in our mouths, eradicating the sweet joy of Obama with that bitter tinge of discrimination. As the hours went on and it became more clear that we had lost on Prop 8, and were denied that prize we had just so recently been awarded, the dancing and crying turned more into just crying. On a day that transformed America, and expressed it as a newly united, we got left behind. It was so hard to grapple with, and the next day everyone had let the sadness overtake the joy. The mourning and merriment left the community emotionally exhausted, but not ready to give up the fight.

I am so hopeful about all things that happened on November 4th, despite my communities setbacks. WE are a resilient people, and have overcome many obstacles to get as far as we have gotten. We took the death of an icon and turned it into a call for revolt. We fought back against a government that was happy to see us die, and changed the face of an epidemic that cost us so many of our own. We changed popular culture from the inside out, and became recognized for our influence on all things, all levels of the cultural strata.

And now, despite the oppressive eight years of backwards civil rights we have experienced, we bridged a gap that just ten years ago seemed extremely far off. We are changing the discourse, changing the minds of our opponents, and with this new victory will get what we deserve. If Obama is as transformative as we all believe he is capable of, then his leadership alone will help us get that last 10% that we need.

In the meantime, we have some tricks up our sleeves. We have a petition to reopen the language of the proposition, as well as a lawsuit in play already that will strip the Mormon Church of its 501c3 non profit status. That sacred church, which funded 70% of the Yes on 8 campaigns and married their own deep pockets with propaganda, will no longer be able to do its political bidding while being spared taxation, and will have a much harder road ahead of them to try and conquer us.

My friends, I will break my pinkyswear today, because it is not worth keeping it a secret. We as a community cannot forget that we have been fighting a civil war in our own country. We have seen our leaders assassinated, our soldiers ignored and even mocked by their predecessors. We have all individually experienced oppression, fear and a sense of shame in our own beings. AS the blood, sweat, tears and pain of the past fade from memory, it is important that now, as we gain ground toward equal rights as last, we grow closer, we read, watch, look sand listen to the stories of our elders.

WE respect the men who died just as much from a disease as from neglect, and the brave women who helped make those deaths peaceful, when family turned their backs and the population at large let fear overshadow it. We cannot forget, for to remember is to realize our struggle. We cannot forget, as we have paved our road to progress with their lives. And finally, we must hold on tightly to our new leaders' mantra, and instead of crying, put down our fears and say Yes We Can!