Today for me will be one that I remember for the rest of my life. You see today the country that I love and the President that I support officially came out to offer his support, his affirmation of who I am totally and my right to live, love and marry, just as everyone else.
This is not about an attack on anyone’s faith. This is not about an attack on the institution of marriage. This is not about trying to impose my beliefs on anyone else. This is not about disrespect for women or a hatred of them. This is about the right to profess my love for the person I have been with for 3 years now. This is about equality. To have the same rights shared by most Americans.
I came out to my parents and family at the age of 13, in 1979. I grew up in a household were we were taught that if you have to hide or be ashamed of something then you should not be doing it. I grew up in a household that believed and taught me and my brothers to respect all people and understand it is not my job to judge.
I grew up believing to be PROUD of who I am and to stand tall and I never thought in my lifetime we would be here.
Just imagine being openly gay at the time that I came out, my freshman year in high school, dealing with the bias, hatred and fear.
The constant bullying and having to walk with my head up in spite of it all. Yet even then I tried to live my life with respect and dignity.
To show just being who I am and not having to hide a very important part of myself has been a liberating process for me. And to now have a President who not only understands, but also shares a sensitivity for who I am and my ability to not only love but marry the person I want without limitations or restrictions.
This is about basic fairness. Especially since I live in NC and after last nights public vote to discriminate against based upon majority vote, has renewed my faith in basic fairness.
This is not about pushing my lifestyle on anyone else. This is not about trying to influence children or confuse them.
This is about HOPE. Hope that we have moved beyond the prejudices that have kept us separate and find the humanity in us all. This is about getting beyond the petty differences and understanding that we all are in this together.
I will remember this day just as I will remember the day and where I was when we elected our 1st African American President. It is that historic for me.
A day where I can look into my partners eyes and say Our President believes in our right to live, love and pursue happiness like every one else.
Thank You Mr. President, I truly appreciate what you did and what it took share your views even though it could cost you politically. Yet your courage and support will not be in vain. It is appreciated and will be reciprocated in full. It truly has been “One small step for man, One giant step for humanity!”
Art has been educating and counseling young people in North Carolina about HIV prevention, staying safe when having sex and how they can teach others to live a healthier life while living with the virus.