In speaking with a trusted colleague this week about the Oklahoma Legislature’s joint resolution to (again) oppose same-gender marriage, he said he feels like we are failing at the capitol; that we aren’t doing enough for the people we are tasked to serve. I certainly understand this sentiment and
found myself thinking the same thing.
After a bit more consideration, I have come to think that we really are doing all that we can given the political and social climate that exists in and around our state’s capitol. We work tirelessly to educate lawmakers about the needs of Oklahoma’s LGBT citizens. We bend over backwards to demonstrate that we are “just like everyone else.” And therein lies the problem.
No person should ever be put in the position of having to prove their worth, their normalcy, to others.
Bigotry is a complex evil. It rarely responds to reason. It shapes an individual from the inside out and, too often, reflects the core of a person. The bigotry we have seen expressed from lawmakers over the past couple of weeks has made me realize more completely how not one lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or transgender Oklahoman ever has to prove anything to these women and men whom we
pay to “represent” us.
We prove ourselves every single day. We go to work, we take care of our homes, we raise our children (and grandchildren), we contribute our time and resources to those less fortunate, we pay our taxes, we are good neighbors, sons, daughters, parents, and citizens. That should be enough to
demonstrate our worth. And yet, somehow, we still feel that we are failing.
The failure is not ours. The failure rests squarely at the feet of legislators–including our so-called “friends”–who waste tax-payer money by spreading their bigotry from the capitol. The failure belongs to preachers who lie from the pulpit about sexual orientation being a “choice.” The failure is on the
part of our friends and family members who love us, but not to the point of standing up for us in a public forum.
One day, and I believe it will be sooner than many realize, people will look back on this period of time and shake their heads in shame. They will wonder how lawmakers who whoop and holler on Sunday mornings yet demonstrate their hypocrisy on the House and Senate floors ever got elected.
They will see the deep injustices being perpetrated on us as a very dark point in Oklahoma and American history. Then, we will all truly understand that we were doing our part all along. By living our lives in exemplary ways, we are creating hope for future generations. By pushing through hate,
we are demonstrating love. By refusing to simply go away, we are staking a claim on the future.
Those who would do us harm will eventually fall away. Their legacy will be one of tortured shame.
Ours, though, will be a legacy of change. All because we lived our lives with dignity.