Two women seeking equality in a state where some couples are more equal than others.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Confessions: I Didn't Always Support Affirmative Action

I am not Black.

You know that, or at least all of you that are long time readers or have ever met me. I'm very White. Very, very White. I've had every privilege that comes with that (I discuss some of that in a recent post about Sandra Bland). And while I have lacked other things, like straight privilege, or the upper echelons of wealthy privilege, because intersectionality exists, I have had a lot of advantages.

Many of them have been in terms of my education. And I am now an educator, and I have studied education, in a lot of cases through some unusual lenses. Those experiences and studies, while not granting me to speak as though I have experience life as a Black person - nothing could ever do that - have taught me much.

And so I am confessing something: 

when I hadn't learned, hadn't experienced, didn't know as much as I have and do now,

I didn't like affirmative action. 

I thought that since I had read voraciously and studied hard and done well on my standardized tests and followed the rules and been a good girl, I should have every opportunity, be admitted where I wanted, get any scholarship (if I'm honest, I didn't even like the idea of need-based aid at the time). It's still hard for me to imagine people not getting into their first choice school, or not getting into any decent school, because my privilege and so forth set me up to get in almost anywhere I would have wanted to go. I was understandably uncomfortable admitting that maybe things weren't as fair as I thought, or that maybe others just as talented as I had been passed over, not once, not twice, but every day in a series of tiny outcomes that snowballed into a totally different life experience and set of opportunities.

I don't like admitting this now, for the same reason that some people were VERY upset with my post Speaking the Truth in Love, about beliefs that people who would not admit to bigotry/homophobia have that do make them, at least currently, bigots and homophobes. Seriously. People said I was being hateful basically for saying that anyone, anywhere, regardless of the fact that they DO believe sweeping, negative generalizations about a specific group and DO think it's okay for people to have fewer rights based on an unchangeable trait, is a bigot/homophobe. No. I am not hateful for calling you out. You are hateful for refusing to change your harmful beliefs, or for insisting upon imposing them upon people who don't share them and shouldn't have to.

Enter #Blacklivesmatter, enter #sandrablack, enter Dylann Roof, the refusal to take down the Confederate flag, a dredging up of Fisher v. University of Texas, #notallwhitepeople, and just a general insistence that White people in the U.S. are colorblind, that racism is done, that the African American Civil Rights Movement was a resounding success, that we have a Black president so Black people can do anything. I don't know what it's like to be Black and hear this. I don't. I can't.

But I know what it was like to be in a same sex marriage and hear people say the stuff I quoted in Speaking the Truth in Love. People said that stuff and expected me to be okay with it or even to agree, and it sucked. It sucked to play respectability politics and have to try to maneuver through a discussion like that. And I don't have to be out all the time. I pass for straight (though no, that's not a compliment either, as I discuss in a different post), so I can at least sometimes avoid these issues. 

So I am concerned, White people who still believe the things I used to believe that

yes, definitely made me a racist. 

They definitely meant I was participating in White privilege and White supremacy. I am concerned when you say that a Person of Color has "taken" your child's spot at college or grad school. I am concerned when you imply that someone of Color who has graduated from college must have only been accepted because of affirmative action and is incompetent now or you don't like them and that somehow reflects on all Black (just Black, not all other graduates of the same program) people or students. You wouldn't say that a White person who had an unfair advantage in being admitted to a program and now is not as good as some other graduates is a poor reflection on other White people. You'd say that person was an individual, a special case.

My views on affirmative action have changed. I hope within my lifetime we'll see proportionate numbers of every group represented at high quality educational institutions, even if that means that applying for my next graduate degree might be more competitive. I hope that if I ever have children, they will never sit in a classroom where everyone looks like them. I'm not sure affirmative action is really even enough to get us there, but it's what we have for now. Goodness, it might be the reason I was able to have a seat at a research one Big 10 university with an amazing scholarship that drastically shaped my life outcomes - 100 years ago, as a woman, who knows if my application would have been considered? (More intersectionality there for you.)

I'm still working on me. I try to check my privilege, but I sometimes fail. I try to ask myself whether something is simply different from how I do things or prefer them, or if it's really worse. If you're not doing the same, as a White person, you should start. Ask yourself if there's anything morally wrong with African American English Vernacular (AAEV/BEV/Ebonics), or if it's just hard for you because you don't understand it. Ask yourself why dreads seem less professional to you than man buns. Ask yourself how many books/movies/articles you've read/seen in the last few weeks (or if you have school age children, they've read/seen) with people that aren't White. I was shocked the first time I counted my picture book library and discovered that none had a Person of Color on the cover. I know some of my readers are more on top of this than I am. Some are maybe around the same point in the journey. It's rough, sometimes, but it's a journey we need to make. Not just to make the world better for Black people, though acknowledging #Blacklivesmatter is important, but because a world of equality, equity, justice, diversity, civility, and love is a world that's better for all of us.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Med Wife Life: Reflections on my First Year Married to a Physician

Rebecca started residency a little more than a year ago. I hadn't really thought about that until I was catching up with a friend I haven't seen in a while and mentioned it.

As a family med intern, Rebecca has worked some truly terrible shifts. We've gone days living in the same apartment without seeing each other, missing each other in some cases by just a few minutes. She comes home exhausted, with stories that are sometimes uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking.

And yet, I'm not sure I've ever seen her so energized (except for the enervation of the paperwork and structural problems with residency and healthcare administration) - meeting with patients, supporting them, and helping solve problems have been incredibly fulfilling for her. I'm proud of her hard work, especially in the small things, like when she gets home late because she sat for two hours past her shift end with a family that had just put their loved one into hospice, or when she is beyond outraged that no one had already alerted adult protective services on behalf of a vulnerable elderly patient.

That's not to say it's been easy for me or for us. I've been working full time at a job I love, but that requires strange hours, lots of driving, and a lot of changing shifts. Financially, we could probably arrange for me not to work somehow, but it would be difficult, and since I love my job, I'm going to keep at it. Sitting at home by myself doesn't suit me well anyway. But it does mean that a lot of housework doesn't get done. We have tried a variety of things, but in the end, I've mostly decided that there are more important things in life than a clean house.

The more difficult part than getting everything done is the loneliness, sometimes. It helps that I work so much, and that I've been good, mostly, about setting up social visits and going to church. Sometimes, even though we're both exhausted, Rebecca and I will lie in bed discussing ideas, dreams, policy, reading we've been doing. She's brilliant and well-read and has amazing thoughts that will improve healthcare, and maybe one of the hardest things of all this is to see her currently powerless in a large hospital structure and to realize that we have a while longer before either of us will start effecting the kind of change we hope to. But these conversations, even when exhausted, even tucked between shifts, murmured softly, sustain us.

The mantra "it gets better" has been around a lot. I'm not really buying it. It's gotten different, on some rotations, but I still worry when she is late coming home that she has fallen asleep while driving, as other residents have admitted to, or that she was attacked by a patient, which has also happened to other residents, or that she's going to get bronchitis again from lack of sleep and exposure to so many germs (as has happened to her already, more than once), or if this one heartbreaking day will be the straw that broke the camel's back.

It gets different, and at some point, residency will get over. It can't get better while attendings and administrators continue to assert that it has always been this way (it hasn't) and that there is nothing to be done (there is), or while family med is viewed as it currently is.

BUT: It will be done, and she will have control over her schedule and patient load someday. She'll be able to call people out, when she moves up in academic medicine, for the hypocrisy of asking residents to complete impossible amounts of work and then stay within their duty hours. Maybe I will try grad school again, or relocate for a dream job, or something else that I haven't even thought of yet. I'm not putting my life on hold - I'm doing what I can now and thinking hard about later. I'm keeping my identity and dealing the way that works for me, whether or not that's "appropriate" for a doctor's wife.

Here's to sixty more years married to a physician and sixty years of being a thorn in the side to the establishment and the kyriarchy.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Confessions: I'm a really bad feminist

If you define feminism as the belief that women are equal to men and capable of doing everything that men can do, then I definitely fall into that category. I know that many people perceive feminism to be more than that, that they may perceive it to be the belief that women are superior to men. This is not the case, and I really am definitely concerned about the portrayal of the men in the media and probably in real life as incompetent children. But that is really not the topic of this blog post.

No, what I would like to bring up here is the difference between my clear belief that I am equal to men and my accomplishment of tasks in light of that. Because lately I have been realizing how often I request help from men for things that I really should be able to do myself. Case in point: I recently taught a class two blocks from my main office where I needed to deliver supplies. Initially I was dropped off with the heavy boxes full of SAT manuals. However, some were left over at the end of the course, BB a half-dozen or so. On the last day, it was necessary for me to return those to the office two blocks away. I packed them up as best I could and joined my male colleague in returning to the office. He didn't offer initially to carry the books, though I'm sure he would have if I had asked. About halfway back, my arms were becoming very uncomfortable, and though I probably could have proceeded, especially if I had taken a quick rest and stretched, I admitted that I was having difficulty,  and at that point he did offer to carry the books. A little harmless ribbing ensued, and I ended up admitting that I am probably a bad feminist for accepting his help. But accept I did.

This alone might not have made me concerned about whether I actually live the belief that I claim I do in regards to feminism. But a similar situation arose less than a week later when I was sent to fetch borrowed tables for an event Rebecca and I would work. In my defense, I did succeed in loading the car alone, though not with a quick meltdown and a bruise on one foot. As I struggled to load the tables,  a man cleaning the building offered to help me because it looked like I was having so much difficulty. Although I told him I probably could do it, I also did accept his help, intending for the two of us to do it together. Instead he loaded them all into my car without my help.

Upon arrival at the event, I was offered and accepted help unloading the tables into my space. I am certainly not saying, because I know many exceptions, that women are incapable of carrying their own things. I know many women who could have managed with these tables. Maybe I could have, even, but I didn't.

Lifting his never been my strong suit. I have many other abilities, including teaching, selling, and being creative, both in problem solving and art projects. So I suppose I could go with the argument that people are benefiting from trade. However, I am unsure what I have really offered the men who did these things for me, except my gratitude and a smile. And perhaps that is really what feels uncomfortable to me. Perhaps it is this idea that there is a quid pro quo here in which I am trading something that I cannot believe feminism would approve of.

I suppose there is the argument that I am doing what I need to to survive in a world where I do lack certain privileges. One reason I dress professionally and put on makeup in the morning is the presence of studies that concluded that students pay more attention to attractive teachers than average looking ones. While that isn't really fair, it is information that I will use to my advantage if it means that my students will learn. 

Many of you, dear readers, have assured me that you find me inspiring, strong, resilient, and many other positive adjectives that I hope reflect well on my gender. But that doesn't mean I am finished yet. Maybe women need to be twice as good, maybe we need to be equally as good, but in any case I need to do better on this front.

Let's Talk Sandra Bland and White Privilege: I as a White woman won't die in police custody

I have so many privileges for being White. So so many.

And I also lack certain privileges for not being straight or in a heterosexual marriage (because privilege /= rights, keep in mind that now having my marriage recognized doesn't mean that I'm completely equal or that there have been reparations for the consistent, harmful denial of my civil rights over the past several years).

I know to some people when I talk about this lack of straight privilege and discrimination against my community, I come off as hysterical, bitter, whiny, or weak. I know that because people have occasionally commented to that effect. Very occasionally, mind you, but those are the people willing to tell me.

I also know that to many, Black women who talk about White privilege and discrimination against their community are also perceived as hysterical, angry, bitter, whiny, or even lazy and angry. I know this because I've seen comments like that on social media threads, things that say "just get over it" or that "slavery has ended and we have a Black president, so stop playing the victim."

And furthermore, I know that when I talk about discrimination against the African American community, I am less likely to be interpreted as just hysterical, bitter, whiny, or weak. This isn't okay, but since it is true, I'm going to use this platform, as becoming very usual lately, to drop some more truth for you.

I've been pulled over a few times in the last year or so. It makes sense. I drive a lot, to places I've never been before. A couple times I have been speeding, mostly because I wasn't sure of the speed limit and was just following traffic. I could tell you that it wasn't my fault, but that's not of substance. I wasn't obeying the law, and I deserved the consequences. None of you will tell me that I deserved to be beaten or shot for a traffic violation though.

So here it is, 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Freedom of Religion: Please Stop Saying I'm Discriminating Against Evangelicals

I've been hearing a lot of concern that churches will face repercussions if they continue to oppose marriage equality. A few people have been fear-mongering by suggesting that ministers will be forced to perform same sex marriages that violate their theology. I have heard it mentioned that churches may lose their tax exempt status or that religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities may lose government funding. I have heard that Christian businesses (a misnomer, since a business can't be religious, only the person owning it can) will be forced to close if they don't serve same sex couples.

I have seen these things a lot. There are really two options in terms of where they come from. One is an intentional effort to push the concept of Christian Persecution Complex (CPC), or the idea that Christians in the United States now are being persecuted and are in danger. For an article that addresses CPC, click here. The other option, and in many cases, I think the more likely one, is that many US citizens lack civic literacy to understand the implications of the Constitution. It is beyond me to remedy that fully.

I have ended up in discussions about this often, with different individuals. This blog post is an attempt to synthesize some of these issues, although I know that one blog post is hardly sufficient; that said, it's a lot closer to sufficient than a Facebook comment. For more info about why I keep writing this type of blog entry instead of answering individual questions or discussions, please see On Being a Unicorn, where I explain my theory behind the relatively active readership of this blog and an additional post on the emotional repercussions for me of being bombarded so frequently with requests to weigh in, entitled Your Questions: My Answers.  

So where to start? I'm not sure, so at this point, I'm going to pick something, start there, and see what happens.

Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs. It's no longer safe to be a Christian in the United States. Christians are the real victims.

Let's address this anecdotally, since the availability of statistics outlining the likelihood of the LGBT community experience homelessness, poverty, uninsured status, unemployment and underemployment, etc, as well as much higher threat of physical violence seem not to matter in this societal debate. It is not my job to educate you on these issues - Google them if you need to or check out Equality Michigan, Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, or any number of other sites dedicate to this issue. (Kat Blaque makes a much better argument on your responsibility to educate yourself on these issues, if you truly care about the LGBT community, than I ever could.)

I have been a committed Christian since I was five years old and a member of a Christian family my whole life. I attended camps on apologetics training (basically, how to share Christianity to get people to follow Jesus) more than once in high school and participated in Bible study and church throughout college and most of grad school. I still attend church regularly, and though I no longer identify as Evangelical with a capital E, I strongly believe in the teachings of Jesus and their power to transform.

I am also gay. And gay affirming. I believe that my marriage is a Biblical picture of the concept of a helpmate and also of a family teaming up to pursue the Great Commission put forth in the Gospel of Matthew (and throughout the New Testament). I know some readers disagree with me on that particular point, but I make it to lead you to another:

I have never been persecuted as a Christian, not really. 

I have been worried about it. I have perhaps thought that I was. But I have never lost an opportunity because of my faith. In fact, I have gained many. I have never been unsafe for my religious views. No one with power over my life has made decisions that changed my outcomes for the negative because I was a Christian. And I attended public schools and universities for all twenty years I have been in formal education. I have never worked for a religious employer that I can currently recall; all my jobs have been in the secular world. I have not hidden my faith - most people know that I regularly attend church, and some even know that I am Protestant. And when it comes down to it, I don't think very many people in the United States have been persecuted for following Jesus. I think I'm the rule here, not the exception.

On the other hand, I have faced discrimination as a member of the LGBT community.

I have avoided coming out at work in certain schools because I feared that students would verbally attack me and/or have their parents call to complain. I have avoided applying for jobs at certain companies or in specific cities. I have avoided looking at rental housing in specific areas. I have been turned away at governmental institutions when applying for paperwork such as an accurate drivers license, resulting in concerns as outlined in my post "It Happened." I have been subjected to questions on highly personal issues of my sexuality, I have been hypersexualized and propositioned, I have been "teasingly" mocked. Rebecca skipped applying to certain hospitals for residency because they would not have recognized her marriage or given me insurance when it would be promised to heterosexual spouses. (Incidentally, whatever else I say about Henry Ford Health, their HR policies for LGBT families are great.) I fear that in an emergency I would be taken to one of the Detroit area Catholic hospitals that is closer than some Henry Ford facilities and that Rebecca and I would face discrimination, as a family we know did within the last year. Yes, a Catholic hospital. A Christian, supposedly pro-family institution discriminated against a family in crisis. 

And you know, I count myself fortunate, because I have never been violently attacked and likely never will be, but I know LGBT people who have been or who have been close, just for being Gay/Trans. I have never been fired, but I know LGBT people who have been, just for not being Cis/Straight.

You cannot convince me that Christians in general, or even Evangelicals in particular, are being persecuted. You cannot convince me that the LGBT community is NOT being persecuted. I have seen the statistics, but I have also lived both. If anything, the LGBT community is being persecuted because of beliefs of a specific subset (and a very specific and shrinking one, at this point) that have been codified into law despite separation of church and state, despite laws against violence, murder, despite in some cases job requirements, legal requirements, etc.

I defend your right to believe whatever your interpretation of Scripture using your version of exegesis says. I defend your clergy's right to refuse to marry whomever he likes. I defend your church's right to gather and worship in the way they see fit, your right to parent as you see fit, even your right to teach your children that my family/marriage is "less than." But I will not agree that you are persecuted. It is not your right to maintain positive public opinion, nor is it Biblical.

I am not persecuted as a Christian. I am persecuted because of my same sex marriage.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gays Didn't Break Marriage (We Found it like this)

Dear opponents of marriage equality,

I know many of you are unhappy, scared, and even angry. I know you fear what is to come. For a number of reasons, you believe that marriage is going to change, that maybe people will stop getting married or that it won't mean as much or that your marriage won't be as cherished if you are already married or you'll never find your soulmate if you're not yet. I have even heard (though I hope it was satire) that some conservative Christians are considering divorce because they feel that marriage equality has ruined something for them. This post is for them. For my readers who don't identify as Christian, read if you like, but know that the heart of this post is for those who do.

Change is hard, and no one is perfectly clairvoyant, and marriage is very different now than it has been, and yeah, she's had a rough century or so. But here's the thing: marriage has been having a rough time since well before the US, in any state, allowed gay people to get married. Those high divorce rates? The children conceived/born "out of wedlock"? Dropping rates of people ever getting married? Rising rates of cohabitation? They've all been happening well before gay marriage was ever legalized.

I'm not a sociologist or a marriage counselor, but I've been married for more than three years (if you count from my religious ceremony, which I do), and I've noticed some things and read some things about what keeps marriages together and what splits them up. And like you, I love marriage. I love being married, and I think the goals of navigating life and performing ministry to others with a helpmate who shares your heart is incredibly beautiful. I know you might not believe me, but if your goal is to see is to see couples thriving in service to God and humanity, with the fruit of the Spirit evident in their lives, our ultimate objective is the same.

And so, I'd like to talk about some other issues that I think have been putting great strain on marriage,  and then I'll include some methods we could use to bolster it. I'm framing these in terms of traditional wedding vows, because I think they get it right on what is important, but many of us haven't set ourselves up well to complete them.

for better, for worse

 A lot of us don't even know how to see better or worse. When Rebecca and I were living together when she had first started med school and I had first started grad school, in some ways, things didn't look great. But we had a lot of time together, and both of us were energized by the learning process and chance to share ideas. I wish we'd known how much to treasure that time. I wish we'd had an older, wiser couple who had been through so much more to tell us how much we should cherish an opportunity like that. Even though money was extremely tight and our families weren't supportive and the Recession was killer, in some aspects those are really external to the relationship.

One element of straight privilege is being able to see relationships and marriages that look like yours, a lot. Being able to ask questions and seek solutions and reconciliation and prioritize by learning from an older couple is a beautiful, Biblical support for marriage. Yet, even for many of my straight married friends, it seems they haven't had this. They've struggled through fights and loss and sometimes, in the end, divorce, together but also alone. They've felt obligated to hide their difficulties and put on brave, happy faces and not talk about how to handle better and worse and make worse better.

Gay couples have a paucity of role models currently because formalized same sex marriage is so new, even in states where it existed before the SCOTUS ruling last month. Rebecca and I don't really have a gay couple we ask about these things, but we've been blessed to have many couples at different stages of life and marriage, and I think getting to talk to them has given much-needed perspective. I wish that marriage counseling included mandatory informal meetings after the wedding, for an indefinite time period (but that would hopefully grow organically into a long term concept) so that new couples can benefit from the kind of wisdom we've seen.  I have one or two friends, including a dear lesbian one, who will sometimes ask me about their relationship, and it's an honor to hear their stories. Often, any advice I give is really just to talk to the other person with an open heart, holding close the love they have.

for richer, for poorer

The economy has been booming and busting often and extremely in the last century. While of course it's romantic to promise to cherish one's marriage in lack and in much, let's be honest: it's easier in much. Financial problems are one of the top causes of marital strife. Part of this is that our culture has neglected fiscal literacy - I think I was fortunate to attend a high school that required us all to take a personal economics class, but that seems rare from the conversations I've had. And so, let's teach everyone to handle and talk about money.

But also, let's stop tanking the economy and dumping on the middle class. The recent Recession was especially hard on my generation, which means it was hard on young couples. Difficulty finding work, especially full-time work, lead to couples with long commutes. Difficulty with low salaries for middle class families lead to multiple jobs or long hours. Given the necessity of quality time and communication, evidence supports the conclusion that couples in this situation are more likely to despair and divorce.

I'm not suggesting guaranteed jobs and salaries, but let's support businesses that hire, that train, that pay living wages, let's vote for true family values that give family leave and vacation time and flexible hours. Let's mentor young couples in making large purchases like homes and cars and help them to find lenders and sellers that will use Godly, just practices.

And let's stop shaming people if they have debt. Our generation has debt. For most of us, it's the way we got through school so that we can fulfill our calling. Of course, we need to handle that, but we aren't bad people for having it. We aren't automatically lazy or irresponsible. Many people put off marriage or eschew it altogether because of this debt and shame. Let's be people who say no to that.

in sickness and in health

I've heard more than one story in which the illness of a spouse or child has caused divorce. Again, it's romantic to think that we will lovingly tend our partner when they are ill, but chronic illnesses take a huge toll, particularly in a culture where homecare is expensive and difficult to obtain, caregiver relief is not a given, and illness tend to lead to bills piling up and debt (see above category). Being the well one, the responsible party, for that situation is incredibly burdening, and while of course walking away isn't the right choice, it's in many ways an understandable one.

Let's band together to provide caregiver relief, to push for a healthcare system that works for the whole family and whole person. Let's be the ones who say, "I will fold your laundry, or clean your house, or bring you dinner, or watch your children if you need, because I value you and your spouse and your marriage." Let's do that not just for cancer or other "acceptable" illnesses, but for mental health, for substance abuse, for infertility, for those sicknesses that aren't so visible but are just as painful.

till death do us part 

Maybe I'm irrational for believing in lifelong monogamy. I probably am. But I have been so blessed to have met my wife at a young age (18, ten years ago next month!) and to have committed to her early (for our current culture, anyway), and to have dreams with her that will take 50 years to fulfill. I hope that for more people. I hope that for you, dear reader.

This post has taken me multiple days to write, and I am exhausted. I don't wish to judge those whose marriages have ended. It is what it is. I don't wish to sadden those who have never been married but seek to. And I'm aware that marriage is not for everyone. I think, though, that we can do better for marriage. Marriage equality can be an opportunity to strengthen these vows, these bonds that so many of us have chosen.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

MI Joy: But Everything is not all Roses Now

I'm checking in, beloved readers. I am still relieved that the Supreme Court ruled favorably. Yes, relieved. Because administratively, legally, financially, my life just got a lot easier.

But everything is not rosy. I know some of you probably hoped that I would consider this victory enough. Maybe that I would get back to more food posts. Trust me, I hope to.

We've got to talk, though. Because even though my home state now must recognize my marriage, I can still be fired or evicted for being gay in most of the state. I probably won't because I'm privileged and educated and White and middle class, and so I have had the luxury of choosing my employer. Not everyone is so privileged. 

My Trans friends have even less protection and assurance on those fronts, despite the fact that it was the T in LGBT that started Stonewall and kicked off this entire civil rights movement. LGBT youth are more likely than any other group to be homeless, and Trans youth even more than the LGB members. Trans people suffer amounts of violence I cannot even imagine as a Cis person. Never mind as a Cis, White, educated, middle class person. 

I know some recent events have brought the Trans community into the spotlight. A lot of people have a lot of opinions. I'm not really qualified to comment on the issues - I have not studied this community psychologically or medically, I don't identify this way. So I will not launch into policy recommendations. If a Trans friend is reading and sees a correction I need to make, I hope they will message me. 

For some reason, though, people read this. Maybe it's because I'm a unicorn or respectable or vulnerable or any number of other things. I think some people read this who don't necessarily know very much yet and are looking for a place to start. 

And so here is what I will say: I rejoice in this marriage equality victory, but it is so much smaller than we need. It will make my life easier, but I am blessed to be in a position where my life is not at stake. I do not face exceptionally heightened violence and never really have.

Whatever you think morally about the Trans community, whether you understand it or not, the fact is that they do face violence. Regularly. And that is not okay. No matter someone's religious convictions or discomfort level, harming someone bodily is not okay. We need change. We need to care. We need, as people and bystanders and citizens and voters, to say that these lives are worth the same as our own and that we will not stop with this small victory. 

Everything is not roses, but it can be better. It's up to us.