I feel anxious about casting my vote November 6th. I’m sure lots of people feel that way when considering the next American President. The vote this November, however, addresses something so personal to me that it leaves me feeling uneasy. In the past, I’ve felt removed from the many political issues that have come and gone; my family, for the most part, has never been greatly affected by any major political shifts, and this is the first time in my life that we will be voting on something so personal. It’s the strangest feeling. I think the best way to describe it, and perhaps why I feel so uneasy, is that it feels as if I’m voting on whether or not my love is valid. I wonder, if my love is not considered valid, or is somehow considered less than yours, what am I?
It’s taken me years to get here. I first told myself that was I gay when I was 9 years old, standing in my parents’ backyard. It scared the crap out of me. I spent a lot of time praying, asking what I did wrong, and wondering what I was supposed to learn from it all. To this day, the memories of those moments continue to make my heart ache and go out to all of those thousands and thousands of young gay boys and girls living these very same moments. I didn’t come out until my sophomore year of college. Nothing major happened in my life to make me come out; perhaps it was the fact that “nothing major” was happening. I became very good at hiding my feelings, and very good at pretending to be someone whom no one would suspect was gay. My sophomore year, I decided I wanted to experience life like everyone else did. I wanted to be in love with someone, and to know what it was like to feel that intertwined physical and emotional bond.
After I came out, it took me a few years to figure out exactly who I was. I still get emotional when I think about how many years I spent terrified to tell my family that I was gay, and then now, realizing the overflowing amounts of love they’ve shown me. I’ve taken one step further and found someone so amazing, I finally get what that love feels like! Our lives are great! We’ve moved in together. I spend my week trying to work my way up in the world, while he painstakingly finishes his PhD. I have an amazing set of parents, a sister and brother-in-law who have given me two nieces and a nephew who I absolutely love! I reflect upon all of this and smile, but there’s always a crack in the image. The whole world doesn’t see what I see, or what my family and friends see. I am capable of the same love as you. And my love is worth as much as your love.
I am beyond thrilled that Minnesota Opera has publicly supported the VOTE NO campaign, and from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank them! This November 6th, I will be VOTING NO, because in my mind, voting no is telling those gay boys and girls that they will grow up in a world where they feel just as valuable as any straight person, and that they deserve just as much as everyone else. I very much hope that you will reach out to others and join me in voting no on November 6th.
Visit Minnesota Opera’s blog every week for Tempo Tuesday