On April 28th, I had the chance to go stand on the steps of the Supreme Court with my family to support same-sex couples' right to be legally married in every state.
As a child of LGBT parents, I'd been at gay pride parades before; but had never been to a venue with such split opinions on the acceptance of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. Being that the case was examining such an important decision in regard to same-sex marriage, the protestors had signs that supported my family and showed love, but also signs that condemned me and attacked my family brutally.
Before this experience, I'd seen both sides of the arguments on screens and in comments online. In a way, the extremes of both sides seemed fictional or like an imaginary place on the internet. I'd seen the Westboro Baptist Church website preaching that my family was the ruin of the world and explaining that gays were going be the deterioration of humankind.
Being in the generation of the internet, I'd just dismissed these comments as irrelevant hateful people hiding behind keyboards. As I walked up to the rally, the earsplitting screech of a preaching man on a megaphone suddenly gave a face to the ignorance I'd seen online all these years.
A man with a megaphone yelled, "I will laugh at your calamity! I will laugh when your terror comes!"
They stood up with signs and shouted into microphones about a child's right to know their parents. That child they speak about is me. They protested and rallied because they 'cared about me'. As a child, I can say that I heard more about gay masturbation and gay fornication from the anti-gay protestors than I have in the rest of my life. Though they want to keep me, the child of gay parents, safe from such topics, they were the ones blasting gruesome details at me with megaphones.
As I heard them yell about the disgusting and detrimental environment my parents were raising a child in, it was clear they had no idea what my childhood had been like.
Walking further into the crowd, past the anti-gay protesters, I encountered the LGBT community in full force. In contrast to the crowd I'd just come from, this group had signs with hearts, rainbows, and positivity. Their chants were about love and acceptance, rather than eternal damnation and porn.
Though the ages of the group spanned across decades, we were a community celebrating a common cause. Regardless of age, gender orientation, sexual orientation, religion, race, or physical ability, the LGBT community showed a sense of unity and equality at the rally.
Even though I was on the younger end of attendees as I was only 17, I had the opportunity to talk to people of different ages and backgrounds. An ally from Texas told me about how she was here supporting her best friend's right to be married. A gay man from New York told me about how after being with his partner for 20 years, he was finally able to marry in his state; but he wanted to support everyone across the country in being able to do the same. I even talked to a five year old girl who wanted her daddies to have a wedding so she could be a flower girl.
People came from unique backgrounds and for drastically different reasons, but I felt a sense of comfort and family. Surrounded by hundreds of strangers, not once did I feel like I didn't belong. There was a feeling of unity and spirit that can't be described in words. Coming together and standing in front of The Supreme Court of the United States, there was a united hope and anxiousness for the verdict coming out in June.
Though the day was a long and tiresome one, the experience that stood out to me the most at the rally was within the first few minutes of my being there. My family had come in with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). This organization has supported and accepted my family ever since I could remember, so I couldn't imagine wearing anything else but the blue NGLCC shirts on the steps.
As our NGLCC group walked into the rally, for a moment I lost sight of the rest of the blue shirts. Talking out loud to myself, I said that I'd seemed to have lost my group. A lady who was a complete stranger with really no obligation to say anything to me called out, "Don't worry! This whole group is your group!"
And it truly is.
They say that love will always win. Seeing all of those hateful people wishing the worst of fates on complete strangers made me realize how negative some realities are. Holding such a deep unnecessary hatred in one's heart couldn't possibly be beneficial to one's sanity.