Illustration by Leah Rubin-Cadrain
Travel with me to a time long ago, before "Legalize Gay" was a T-shirt, before "marriage equality" was a household phrase, and before #DOMA was ever trending on Twitter. Why, at this time John Travolta wasn't even gay yet. Innocent times they were.
Way back when you were wearing culottes and scrunchies, I was... well, also wearing culottes and scrunchies, but, additionally, I was campaigning for gay rights, and I was six years-old.
It's like what Christopher Walken says in The Cowbell Sketch: "I put my pants on... just like the rest of you, one leg at a time... except once my pants are on, I make gold records."
Well, that is how I feel about myself with regard to gay rights. I put my culottes on just like you did, but then while you, my peers, were throwing sand at one other, I was advocating for what would now be called "marriage equality." Back then it was just called, "Please stop saying horrible and ignorant things about gay people."
So now, today, when peers ask me, Are you excited that your parents could finally get married if they wanted to? Can you believe that in this historic moment the Supreme Court is finally discussing DOMA? I'm just like... WHERE WERE YOU ALL THIS TIME??
And it's not like I'm some great activist. I'm a lazy nobody who just happens to have two moms. But as a kid I was constantly bragging about my lesbian moms, effectively outing them wherever I went. I would roll down the window to tell the man pumping our gas, "Hey I have two mommies!" And then roll the window up again while my mom pretended to adjust her mirrors. I "came out" on behalf of my parents all over town. It was a form of unwitting activism. It was stupidity on my part really, but it was poignant stupidity.
So I've been excited all along, every little skirmish along the way. Convincing 7 year-old Marianne Panetti that gay people weren't pedophiles who also had sex with animals all day: I was excited when I won that debate. Explaining to first-grader Zach Tell that I wasn't born in two separate sections with each half of my body coming out of a different mother: I felt good that I was able to clarify that. But that was over twenty years ago. And now I find my excitement is mixed with a bit of confusion.
It's hard to keep up a steady stream of excitement from age 2 to age 27. I have held many hands over the years as people sorted out their "evolving" feelings about gay people. SOMETIMES I GET BORED. Sometimes I wish there wasn't so much discussion surrounding such a basic matter. A kid needs loving parents. Done. The gender of the parents is not relevant. Let us move on to curing Alzheimer's.
My parents celebrated their 36th anniversary this week. Not an anniversary of marriage but of... well whatever thing it is they did that made it an anniversary. I'm not even sure they remember.
I've been attending gay pride parades and AIDS walks since I was 4 years old. I'm amazed and moved and joyful that what once felt like my personal soap box is now everybody's soap box, but there's a little bitter part of me that CANNOT BELIEVE gay rights is even still an issue.
It gets better, but it also gets old.
The original version of this article was published online in BUST Magazine and PoliticalSubversities.com, July 2011.
Read more about growing up and being a grownup with two moms at Two-and-a-Half-Women.Tumblr.com.
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