1/27/2009

My Straight "Ally"

This is my best friend Sandy.

Sandy has been a rarity among straight friends. Although I've known her only less than a year it seems as though we've been friends since childhood. We met working with a paranormal group and there was an immediate "click" between us.

But Sandy, has done something no other straight friend or even family member has ever done. She has become an activist in gay causes.

Over the years I've had straight friends who have "supported" me and my relationship. They have been sweet and wonderful people who never once said or did anything derogatory. Yet, neither did they actively seek change to help their friends to legalize their relationship or promote simply equality and human dignity. Oh sure, if some vote came up they would vote the right way. But despite being solidly "liberal" never once did they join a protest march, write a letter to the editor, or publicly refute the propaganda of the right.

IMG_3060Image by jessebucksc via FlickrAt the same time they would get exercised about things like animal rights or taking care of strays. They would forward petitions and emails about these issues non-stop. They would join groups and contribute money. Yet, a simple request to sign a petition for equality would often go unheeded, much less forwarded. Even publicly showing support by joining a PFLAG group was too much to ask. Even a "virtual" one like on Facebook.

To me it was not shocking that during the elections Californians voted to deny us basic Civil and Human Rights while simultaneously voting to allow chickens more leg room on farms. Chickens were deserving of more rights than LGBT people. Not surprising for those whose straight friends have always been supportive but not the point of inconveniencing themselves or daring to withstand the hatred of their Religious friends to do what is right.

But then I met Sandy.

IMG_3081Image by jessebucksc via FlickrSandy went with Michael and me to see Milk recently. Although she'd been supportive before seeing the film unleashed her inner activist. She began to goad me to get more involved again and to take her along. A few weeks ago she went to her first LGBT rally in Phoenix with me. At first she wasn't sure what to do and hung back, but soon, with a request from Michael to interview people for his BTR show, she was talking to anyone who ventured near. She made contacts with people from various groups including a straight alliance, she talked to a teacher who helps with a gay student organization, and she became a true activist.

On the way home she goaded me to stop grousing about the direction of the movement under the tutelage of the professional fundraisers and NPO folks and get back to work at the grassroots.

Because of Sandy, not only will I be taking part in Freedom to Marry Day on February 12, 2009. Buck & Sandy in TombstoneImage by jessebucksc via FlickrBut Michael and I will be the couple who attempt to get a marriage license for the photo op. Michael, of course, could not imagine doing something so public just a few years ago. He comes from a much less radical experience and because most of the gays he knew were older Pre-Stonewall men, he inherited their reluctance to discuss sexuality publicly or make an issue of it until much later in life.

It's funny that a straight woman, who is constantly telling me how she has discovered some new and "enlightening" fact about LGBT history and our plight, a woman who admits she had no idea who Harvey Milk was until we saw the film, a woman who is the epitome of a sweet, decent, and quiet wife has reawakened my inner activist.

With a few million more Sandy's there's nothing we couldn't accomplish for equality!


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