Published: November 14, 2012
Reading you over the years has absolutely changed my mind on gay marriage. I wanted to let you know that. I also live in Maryland, and (as you know) we voted last week to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. I was excited that I got to vote for marriage equality in my home state, Dan – even I agree that it's fucked up that people get to vote on the civil rights of LGBT people at all. Thanks for all your writing over the years – it's really made a difference in my love and sex life. And congrats to you and all gay people in the United States for the big wins last week in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State.
Just Some Straight Guy
There's something I want to say about the votes – and about the voters – in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. But first I want to say this to my fellow queers: We built this. The breakthroughs we saw last week, which included the election of the first openly gay person to the United States Senate (Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin), we made that. LGBT people came out, fought back and changed the world. We have a fuck of a lot left to do – repeal DOMA, pass ENDA, unfinished business with DADT (trans people are still barred from serving), defending the rights of queers around the world – but LGBT people have made tremendous progress since Stonewall. It has gotten better for us because we came out and fought to make it better. We demanded better.
Now here is what I want to say to straight people: Thank you.
I know so many straight people in Washington State, where I live, who worked unbelievably hard on the campaign to win marriage equality for their gay and lesbian friends, family members and neighbors. I know straight people in all four states who voted, gave money, worked phone banks and knocked on doors – all in an effort to make it possible for same-sex couples to marry.
Gays and lesbians are a tiny percentage of the population. And while we laid the groundwork for the breakthroughs we saw last week in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota – we built this – we didn't build it on our own. The majorities in the state legislatures in Maine, Maryland and Washington that voted to make same-sex marriage legal? Straight. The governors who signed laws making same-sex marriage legal? Straight. The overwhelming majority of people who voted in favor of marriage equality in all three states after anti-gay bigots forced public votes on our civil rights? Straight. The majority that voted against writing anti-gay bigotry into Minnesota's state constitution? Straight. And the president who took a huge political risk and came out for marriage equality before his reelection campaign? Straight. It has gotten better for us – better, not perfect – but it hasn't gotten better for us in a vacuum. It's gotten better for us because straight people have gotten better about us.
Rights are rights. They shouldn't be put up for a vote. And we shouldn't have to say "thank you" when they're recognized. The sad fact is that we have had to fight for our rights. But here's the happy fact: We didn't have to fight this one alone. Thousands and thousands of straight people stood with us and fought for us. We had help. And that's what we should thank the straight people for. Not for granting us our rights – rights are rights are rights – but for joining our fight.
Last week on my blog, I floated the idea of having a big party for all the straight people who came through for us in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State. But all those straight people wouldn't fit in a single ballroom. But we can fit them on a single Tumblr page. Queers? If you know a straight person in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota or Washington – if you know a straight in any state or the District of Columbia – who donated money, phone-banked, went door-to-door or took a political risk on our behalf, take your picture with that straight person, write a few words about what they did, and post it to straightupthanks.tumblr.com.
We saw a huge breakthrough in the struggle for LGBT equality last week. And it wouldn't have happened without the help of so many righteous, kick-ass straight people. I'll bet every queer person reading this knows a straight person who they should thank. I certainly do. Thank them in a public way: Go to straightupthanks.tumblr.com, click "submit a post," share a photo, and thank a straight ally.
Because we literally couldn't have done it without them.
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