"I would go apeshit on anyone who ever tried to hurt you." Paul says this with an aggressive conviction that shocks me. It doesn't surprise me that he would protect me, or that his love for me runs so deep. The shock comes from a silent understanding that passes like a current between us. The very reason someone might hurt me is because of our love for each other.
He said this to me the night before I testified in front of New Hampshire's Judiciary Committee to oppose the repeal of marriage equality. I was doing something that most Americans will never have to do: I was fighting to keep my marriage legal.
To speak about something as personal as love and family in front of an impersonal governmental body is daunting. To speak in front of elected officials who called me diseased, sick, and a pedophile was almost unbearable. Several times I voiced my disapproval for being called these things, only to be told that I should remain quiet and respectful of those speaking. But how do you remain quiet when someone calls your husband sick and immoral?
I didn't. I started this blog. Since then I have received many emails from others who wanted to tell me their story. Recently I received an email from a filmmaker, Wajahat Ali Abbasi, who is filming a movie about the true story of two Iranian boys executed by public hanging in 2005 for the crime of loving each other.
My first thought after receiving this email was, This is another part of the world. It couldn't happen here. But then I thought about our politicians who spew lies and hate about me; about the pastor from my home state of North Carolina who called for gays to be executed; about one of my own family members who called me sick and will not speak to me; about the former classmate who hurled a homophobic epithet at us during our high-school reunion.
Dehumanizing a population makes it possible to extinguish them. In eight countries, including Iran, being gay is punishable by death.
When I asked Wajahat what the motivation was for making this film, he told me of his friend, a bright, 20-year-old boy with a promising career. This boy came out to his friends and family and experienced relentless, daily bullying. He became afraid of leaving his home. One day, while returning from college, he disappeared. Two days later his body was found. His murder was declared a suicide.
The film, Sin, is Wajahat's attempt to tell the personal story, to put a human face on the two boys who were blindfolded and hanged in July 2005. You can view his Kickstarter page here. The trailer is at the bottom of this post.
I learned some sobering facts while researching this post. One of them is that because I am gay, I am 41 times more likely to become a victim of a hate crime. The question is not whether I would die for love, but whether I will.
This post originally appeared on William Dameron's personal blog, The Authentic Life.