I’m really moved by the Supreme Court ruling.
What really touches me about the granting of equal marriage rights is the fact that forty years ago, this level of recognition and acceptance must have seemed unimaginable to the LGBT community. Unimaginable to everyone except a few brave people.
But like every other civil / human rights movement, paths have been forged by a select, courageous few. The few that refuse to accept the status quo even when the whole world around them tells them what they want is against the natural order of things. The few that refuse to let opposition and even violence stand in the way of their conviction and dreams. The few that dreamt big, that believed with certainty that reality can and should be changed.
And I’m not just referring to LGBT rights.
When the first black man gained entry to the Mississippi University in 1962, he was turned away on the first day by the Governor of Mississippi. It was a time when segregation was accepted as the natural order of things in the South, unquestioned. And yet, it was also a time when Martin Luther King dreamt that one day, people
‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.‘
In the 17th century, American and British philosophers and men used a term called natural law to define women (in addition to children, slaves and non-whites) as neither ‘rational’ nor ‘civilised.’ And it was widely accepted in most societies, that the inferior status of women was common sense, self-evident and intuitive. It was in this environment that Mary Wollstonecraft, argued for greater rights for women, for them to be educated, for them to be granted the right to vote arguing that it was limited circumstances and low expectations NOT nature that was responsible for women’s situations.
“Those who are bold enough to advance before the age they live in…must learn to brave censure.”
― Mary Wollstonecraft, a matter of nature.
And then there was Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to politics who boldly urged,
“I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights.”
I recall Debbie Millman’s book, Look Both Ways, where she talks about dreams. She writes
“Every once in a while … we encounter … someone who chose to strive for that which (to us) seemed unrealistically unattainable.
… It really is all about their strength of imagination …
… They didn’t decide what was impossible before it was even possible.”
I’d like to say thank you to all these amazing people with the big, impossible dreams. You’ve changed reality, you’ve made the world bigger. I now live in a world where I can actually think it’s funny when somebody tells me that men are smarter than women. I live in a world where more often than not, I’m characterised by my actions and deeds and not the colour of my skin or my gender.
But more importantly, these few have inspired me, given my the temerity to hope and dream impossible things as well. To refuse limits and to invent new realities for myself.
Thank god for the dreamers.