By Summer Seasons, PQ Monthly
When marriage equality came up for a vote the first time in Oregon, I was not for it. You see as a person who struggled with faith my whole life I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the reason for gay marriage. I was gay-identified at the time but didn’t really see the need for it to be a thing. When civil unions were presented that seemed like a good alternative to me, and I chose to support that initiative. It wasn’t until my boyfriend proposed to me, that I finally started to question my own beliefs. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was time for me to make a change because now I was about to have to fight for my own.
I started working on the marriage initiative almost immediately and a lot of my friends were very skeptical of me. I had been such a vocal advocate for civil unions instead of marriage that they had a hard time believing that I could now be for it. You see it wasn’t until I was presented with the idea of not being able to marry the one that I love that I personally realized how important this issue was to me. The proposed civil union wasn’t going to be separate but equal; it was going to be completely unequal in all aspects. There were going to be many partner rights that were missing, most notably health decisions regarding your partner.
I received a lot of hate mail from my friends at this time, and that was really hard for me to adjust to. To me, I had seen the error in my ways and was making a progressive move forward, but to them I had been a part of the reason we were being held back, and the villains who didn’t allow us the rights we so rightfully deserved. I wasn’t going to let anyone slow me down from my new goal of achieving marriage equality, but I was going to for sure make people know why I had changed.
Until I had been forced into the change, when anyone had previously asked me if people changed, I would’ve told them it’s not really possible. I’d heard it from my parents and teachers so often growing up that I’d come to believe it myself that people can’t change, and yet here I was forced with one the biggest changes in opinions I’d ever faced and I was contradicting everything I’d believed in and grew up knowing.
I couldn’t really explain why the fight became so personal for me, but it became the biggest fight I ever went to go work for inside myself. I had a lot of making up to do, to myself, but also to those that were around me as well. I needed to prove to them that I had made the change in my thinking and that I was now on their side as well.
Realizing I’d made a mistake was probably the hardest for me to get over. I’d always considered myself to be smart, informed and pretty progressive when it came to the issues, but I’d apparently made a mistake. I realized then and now that it was my duty to inform myself on the issues and to educate myself with the knowledge from those that surround me. It would then become possible for me to change and evolve my opinion on things. Growing from my mistakes haunted me for a while but made me a much better person today. I channeled that inner struggle into working for the right side of the cause and started informing the naysayers as to why it was now important to me.
The evolution of me will be something I’ll forever be working on. I’m here to tell you that I am now a changed person. It took that personal touch for me to realize it, but now I see all of the issues with a much better clarity. I stopped beating myself up over the opinions I formed when I was younger and misguided and I do my best to discover the facts before making a new view. I’m no longer afraid to admit my mistakes because I believe that acknowledging them will help others to grow, and I’m forgiving of those that come to me and say they’ve changed too. At a certain point in your life, you’ve got to look at your friends or family and forgive them for their past if they weren’t on the same side of you, especially if they’ve changed. It took a while for my parents to come around to being okay with me doing drag, but here they are more supportive than ever. You never know what someone’s past is as to why they make the decisions they do, but forgiveness for their mistakes sure does make the process smoother for them and a much easier life for you!