Continue to Demand Them

I was fortunate enough to go to Washington D.C. this past weekend and volunteer for the 13th annual Human Rights Campaign dinner. This is the third dinner I have attended. Over the past three years I have met powerful activists, such as Judy Shepard, and seen the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States, speak out in favor of our issues.
Currently, it’s legal to be fired from my job because I’m gay. Currently, Arizona offers no domestic partner benefits, gay marriage is, and has been, illegal, and if I am murdered in a heinous hate-crime, it could easily not be labeled as such.
I have attended these nation dinners because I strongly want to change the many problems that exist in my state and in my nation. I want to be able to go to work knowing I am able to be who I am. When a co-worker asks me about my weekend I want to tell them I have a wonderful time with my boyfriend, and not fear backlash for being honest. I want to be able to marry the person I love in the state I was born and raised in, and I want to be the first of my siblings to make my father a grandfather.
But I have to fight for it. We all have to.
Last night at the diner President Obama said that the only way we can expect to see change is to keep trekking. He said my rights, and progress, is taking far too long. And, he said he understands that we are growing impatient.
But he also said its coming. For almost thirty years HRC has been talking, has been holding our elected officials accountable to the simply concept of democracy. The basic principal in which this country is founded upon is the notion that every man, no matter their race or gender or sexuality, is created equal and we all have the inalienable right to pursue happiness.
Did President Obama suddenly give me over 1,100 rights a marriage certificate provides me? No. Did he magically sign into law the Matthew Shepard Act? Not yet (though it may be as early as next week when he does!). Did he suddenly end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? Nope. Did a fully inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act suddenly pass the Congress and President Obama is getting his black inked pen ready? Still no.
But last night he did make the promise that all of these things are coming.
President Obama is not change. Rather he is the spirit of change. He isn’t perfect, and he has much work to do. But he is willing and ready to do the hard work to change hearts and minds across this nation. But he can’t do it alone. This spirit of change is engrained in the American spirit, the very spirit that is embedded in each of us.
I am growing impatient, certainly, but that simply means I must demand and fight and call upon my Representatives, and my President all the more. We will get our rights, but only if we continue to demand them, together, unified, in solidarity as a repressed group in this nation.

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