How to live through a monumental day.

In case you all have been living under a rock, you would have heard that the Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal on Friday June 26th, 2015. This decision’s timing couldn’t have been placed better within our Moxie program’s curriculum and gay pride month. It is as if June didn’t have enough gay pride!

The week before we had visited SAGE, an organization that provides services to gay, lesbian, and transgendered elderly across the nation, a group that is often forgotten in society. This week’s readings focused around homophobia, gay identity and the intersection between the women’s movement and the gay movement.

After this week’s decision the United States joined 20 other countries by allowing all couples to get married. I still remember watching the neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Seattle go wild when gay marriage became legal in 2012. That was nothing compared to the celebration that I experienced and participated in NYC this weekend.

I think out of all my days as an U.S citizen (aka all my days) this is the 2nd most significant day in U.S history I have lived through. I am thankful that, unlike 9/11, this day will bring joy and happiness to many Americans.

But how does one really celebrate and recognize when they live through something like this?

Step 1:  Believe your co-worker when they tell you the news.

Although I am usually an optimistic at heart, when Julia told me the news about the decision, I did not believe her. I didn’t have the capacity to think that our justice system could really be capable of this. Have faith, sometimes things turn out in equality’s favor.


Step 2:  Visit where the movement began.

Before coming to this program I honestly knew very little about the history of the gay rights movement. Despite my obsession with AP US History, I wasn’t exposed to the early protests of many poorer people of color who refused to be subjected to discrimination and police brutality. Thus the night of the decision, all of us visited the Stonewall Inn. The streets were flooded with all walks of life and happy energy was abundant. I know people say New York City is the city that never sleeps, and June 26th was no exception. When walking I overheard, “I met my first boyfriend here” from a clearly emotional man. Visiting the place where it all started, allowed me to pay homage to those who were brave enough to recognize the injustice they were facing and pay respect to what it meant to many people: a symbol of hope and sanctuary.

Step 3: Find the authentic amidst the commercialization.

Don’t forget we live in America, aka capitalism’s half brother. Thus when something in America happens to  pull at the heart strings of  Americans, 10 different companies try to sell and profit off those heart strings. Example: The NYC Pride parade was filled with different companies marching. How much was this motivated by their excitement of pride and how much was their participation motivated by marketing and branding?

Instead of pushing to get the Chipotle pins, or the shirts they are throwing out, try to take in moments of authentic humanity. This may mean different things for different people.

For me it was seeing couples of all different genders and sexual orientations kissing, holding hands and laughing at each other.

It was being blinded by how many rainbow colored flags flooded fifth avenue.

It was being offered ginger-biscotti by a women from Sanctuary for Families who complemented us on our pride themed outfits.

gay pride parade

Step 5: Recognize this one day doesn’t define history.

Yes, I just lived through a major judicial win for the gay movement. It would be easy for me, as a cis gendered heterosexual woman to mentally check off, “helped support the gay movement” on my lists of things to do. For many this could be an easy excuse to move on to different social justice issues. However, to truly make a change, a difference, an impact is to recognize that this movement is far from over and may never be. Our discussions in seminar have opened my eyes to reflecting on the intersections between marginalized groups in our society. As a proponent for women’s rights and equality, I need to and hope to continuously fight and be aware of how my position and my actions have the potential to help move and affect movements of groups other than “my own.” The longer I am in this program, the more and more I realize to truly be a proponent for one movement is to be a proponent for all because people and humans are multidimensional and have multiple identities.

So when living through either a national celebration, a historic decision, or even a country’s tragedy take a moment to recognize how this happened, why it happened, what it means to you and how you will contribute moving forward.




3 thoughts on “How to live through a monumental day.

  1. April, I hardly believed the news myself when someone texted me about it! I admire the way you have gone about observing and internalizing the past few days in NYC. While legalization of same-sex marriage is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done. I am glad you feel motivated to recognize this and be an activist!

  2. April this was an incredibly well written examination of your experience this past weekend. I think you touched an important note about how we need to remember that the Pride Parade isn’t about the free gifts but the small details the beautifully subtle things that we may miss if we don’t attention enough. I love reading this! I’m really glad you have such a positive yet realistic outlook on all of this.

  3. I love how you structure your posts. I also loved how you noticed just how pervasive capitalism really is – companies marching in a pride parade?! I didn’t even really register that connection. Super insightful!

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