In the past month, historic steps (notice I don’t say change) happened to erase me as a second class citizen. 4/15 President Obama called me personally to apologize and Directed HHS to come up with new rules for all public hospitals about visitations and an fully inclusive definition of family. Today the House voted to repeal DADT. Next DOMA, then maybe, just maybe full equality for all citizens.
Much more needs to happen. Lt. Dan Choi, chaining himself to the WH as well as others to demand the change. But remember Gretta Camermeyer back in the 90’s kicked out before DADT? We are making strides as a community so that gay teens don’t need to have the highest suicide rate of any others kids. That parents don’t come home to find their gay child bullied so bad they have hung themselves in their closet. These children need to be proud and safe and tell parents who won’t kick them out of the house, when they come out and say “I’m Gay”.
I wonder what full equality will feel like? I still can’t access Lisa’s niche b/c I’m not related so I have no legal standing to add a letter from our oldest son. I can’t get her death certificate or medical records – STILL. I still have to carry a power of attorney so that when I am sick – I can have someone with me.
And then I step back and think but how did Lisa feel. Alone – tied to her gurney, did she hear me recite the litany of saints during the 5 mins I did see her for Last Rites? Did she hear me say I love you one, at what I didn’t know would be the last time? Did she hear or feel my tears on her cheek? Did she wonder as she slipped away why no one was there – no one? Did she think the kids and I left her to die alone. As I watched other families brought back to be with their family. I will never know. I hope there is an after life so that I can tell Lisa how sorry I am for failing her in her last moments. In our Holy Union, before GOD I promised not to abandon her, it was not my intention – but it happened and the guilt is as raw today as it was over 3 years ago.
I truly hope that we are almost there – that our country, the greatest on the planet – gets there. I think that we are slowly getting there. But it needs to happen now. So that service members don’t need to live a lie – especially when they are willing to die for MY freedom. It needs to happen now for that gay family who has a critically ill spouse – about to die, so they can be together in that final moment. It needs to happen now so that partners can receive all benefits like social security, life insurance and anything else the couple built together so those left behind are not in utter financial ruin. It needs to happen now, because we are no less of a person than the next person. It needs to happen now, because everyday gay individuals donate their organs unselfishly so that others can live (just like Lisa did to save 4 lives). It needs to happen now so that our children can hold their heads high and say I have/had TWO moms and I’m damn proud of that.
It needs to happen now.