I've been listening to speeches all day that were made yesterday in Washington DC. I've read countless emails and tweets and Facebook updates and blogs by my friends and colleagues who were there. Obviously it was an emotional and meaningful experience for those who attended. I'm very sorry I was not able to be there. By all accounts it was an amazing day.
But one particular video caught my attention especially. I hope you've seen it or watch it again here. The connection Ms. Nixon makes between hate crimes and the unequal treatment of LGBT people is poignant and important. If no other point was made, this is an excellent and compelling reason to address the issue sooner than later by repealing DOMA, overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell and doing everything possible to strengthen hate crimes legislation.
Yes we need to keep working in our own congressional districts and states. Yes we need to put pressure on our local, state and national politicians. But maybe yesterday was a bit like going to church, doing something that "fills us up" so we have the energy and the stamina to go on fighting. Maybe once in a while we just need to get together and clap and yell and listen to some speeches and music and poetry in the sunshine and feel free in the comfort of being surrounded by like minds.
Maybe Barney would have felt differently if he'd remembered where he came from and gone down to hang out with his peeps. Wait.... maybe that's the problem. He's managed to attain such a level of privilege that he now identifies more closely with the people who can't seem to do anything but fight with each other than he does with his brother and sister queers.
Sometimes is all too easy to throw stones when we think we live in stone castles with ivory towers far away from and above the fray of common life. He's so far beyond remembering what it felt like to have to fear someone hurting him that he can't even identify with the fear anymore. Today I miss Harvey. I like to think that no matter how much privilege he attained he would have always encouraged us to "come out" and stand up for ourselves.
Maybe yesterday was just symbolic. But symbols can be powerful motivators and rituals can be powerful fuel for fighting for justice. I'm glad I listened to a lot of the speeches today and looked at a lot of pictures and read a lot of personal accounts. It makes me realize how important it is to just stick together and feel stronger for it.