Sunday, July 5, 2009

Half A Ghost Town and a Civil Rights Tattoo

Chris and I spent the day in Jerome, Arizona. We spent quite a bit of time in this tiny haven for artists, hippies and other misfits, when we lived out here so many years ago. You can find it built into the side of Mount Mingus in between Cottonwood and Prescott. It is one of my favorites places and holds many memories for me.

 Chris and I decided that this would be a great place to get a tattoo, and so we set out with designs in hand. Mine would read “My Soul Is Rested”. I took this from one of my favorite civil rights fraises, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.” Martin Luther King Jr. used this in many of his speeches during the civil rights movement. He adapted the saying from a woman named Mother Pollard. Mother Pollard was a seventy something year old black woman who was involved in the Montgomery bus boycotts of the early 1960’s. After weeks of walking to all her destinations MLK approached her saying, “I know you must be tired. Why don’t you take the bus?”  She replied to him “My Feets is weary, but my soul is rested.”

 This quote and story moves me immensely. I identify with it in so many aspects of my life. Not only for being a gay person who has been actively speaking out against the oppression of queer people since my very early teens, but also in social, environmental and economical choices I have made in my life.

 I hope that this tattoo will help remind me daily of the struggles of the past, present and future. Remind me of those who have given their lives and freedom fighting for equality all over the world. Remind me to continue learning about the struggles of others as well as my own. Lastly I want it to remind me of my closest friend who will not allow anyone to tamper with his civil liberties no matter the cost. 

 I find it quite Ironic that I am currently writing this post on July 4th, Americas Independence Day. Happy 4th Y’all!! 



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What is all this talk about Marriage?

After leaving the liberal state of Massachusetts and traveling through the bible belt and into the southwest, I have come to the conclusion that the queer community is completely divided. I am very proud of the six states that have passed equal marriage rights across the country. I would also like to remind people of the many states that are far behind of these few fortunate states. 

The majority of the states in our country have been unsuccessful in passing legislation that protects the queer community in housing, employment, and hate crimes. Even in my home state of Massachusetts we have no protections that extend to our transgender brothers and sisters. There is something wrong with this and the mentality that each state is on its own. It is time that we reach out and help these states catch up. We need to unite and fight for these rights on a federal level. 

Lately, I feel the emphasis has been solely directed toward defeating DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act). Why are we, as a community, not pushing for a nation-wide ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) that would protect us in employment, or putting heat on the Senate to pass the Mathew Shepard Act that would protect us federally from hate crimes? This would bring us all onto the same page and really unify our community. Then, as a united force, we can take down DOMA. 

I am outraged at the slew of Gay activists that think that marriage equality is the ONLY and BEST cause to be fighting for. Marriage equality is not going to protect gay parents from being fired from their jobs; married or not! Marriage equality is not going to protect the transgendered person that is being evacuated from New Orleans during a hurricane when they are separated by gender! Marriage Equality is not going to protect our queer youth in our public schools!


So I ask you, where are your priorities? I am speaking out to my whole queer family and I implore you to give marriage a rest and together lets fight for the safety of our people before we go off and get married. Oh, and cut President Obama some slack! 


Today marks the halfway point of our trip and my first blog post ever. On this trip I have met so many amazing people and seen so many beautiful places, I have no idea where to start. Chris is doing a fantastic job giving you folks a play-by-play of each day we spend on the road. I want to use this space as an outlet for my personal thoughts and ideas that are inspired by the incredible sights I see and the people I meet along this journey across the U.S.