What a week. First Barack Obama wins the election, to everyone's great relief. "Congratulations," I was told by various coworkers and acquaintances. As if it were my doing. And yes, I did do my small part, although I'm registered in DC and DC always votes democratic, so I'm not sure how exactly my little vote made a difference. Still, I could do nothing but beam about it.
But then there came the sting.
All those nasty hateful anti-gay ballot measures that passed. What is it about gay marriage that scares a majority of the straight population into adding amendments to state constitutions? Is there any way to stop this from happening or do we just have to wait until the WWII generation kicks the bucket? While I'm not surprised really, it is nonetheless dismaying.
(Which is not to say that Sweden doesn't have its own problems with gay marriage: the current center-right coalition government has been trying to convince the hold-out party - the Christian Democrats of course - to sign on to a coalition-sponsored resolution to make marriage gender neutral. But they've finally given up and will instead let it go out as a general resolution for members to vote on. I'm not 100 percent sure I understand exactly the difference between these things - in Swedish one is proposition and one is a motion and I don't remember which is which. Anyway, it is certain to pass since of the seven parties in Parliament, the only party against it are the Christian Democrats, which also happened to be the smallest party and make up a tiny minority. It's expected to be up and running by May 2009. How's that for a bit of Swedish political arcana for you?)
Still, I keep the faith. My remarkable parents are fighting the good fight, doing far more than I have ever done to further the cause of equality for the whole GBLTQ sandwich segment of the population. And my dear friend L. is making his way on a book tour, plugging his history for teenagers - Gay America: The Struggle For Equality - which should be in every damn city and school library in the country. L. was in fact signing the book at Barbara's, which curiously enough just happens to be my parents' local bookstore in Oak Park. And my mom, as always, doing her part, buying copies for the library and the public schools, and for the PFLAG group that she founded, and for herself of course.
I salute you, L. And you, too, mom.
There, I'm done proselytizing.
The Swedish phrase of the day is andas ut. It literally means breathe out, but I think a better colloquial translation would be breathe a sigh of relief.
- by Francis S.