Once upon a time, my father's sister got it into her evangelical head that her nieces needed religion. My single mother was like "If you want to take my kids from 9 to 12:30 on Sunday, that's a-okay with me" and so, off we went to Sunday school and a church service.
I was raised as a "non-practicing Catholic" (sometimes my mom would specify that *she* was non-practicing where we were merely baptized at ages two and three to placate her mother and thus were barely nominally Catholic. Later I went to Catholic high school and was a member of a congregation for the tuition discount. Also because my grandma needed a ride.)
PS in the middle: I got excited and bought a bottle of champers today and then my husband fell asleep and I drank it all myself and I'm drunk-blogging on Friday night like its 2002.
Okay. The scene. It's maybe 1987. My father has remarried to a woman who is maybe barely twenty. My sister (age 6ish) and I have learned about how some girls never grow up to like boys, specifically in the context of our newest aunt and her sexual preference. This is quite a revelation.
So. We are at church. And Protestants have (or had in the mid eighties, I couldn't tell you) a "Children's talk". All the kids come down near the altar and get a little lesson in front of everyone and then have the option to go to the nursery.
Down we go. And the lesson is about lies. This is mid-eighties Kentucky. Small town in the county my family moved into in the 1840s. There's a Q&A. They hand my sister the microphone.
She explains that it turns out that some girls are lesbians. And lesbians can't get married. She would like to grow up to marry her best friend. They're going to be lesbians. Said best friend has a gender neutral name.
So, if the friend dresses up like a boy and says she is a boy so they can get married, is that a big lie or a little lie?
My mother always said that after that, my grandma's friends starting sitting a bit closer to the front of the church. The aunt in question moved out of state shortly after (unrelated but still).
My step-aunt who prompted this little from the mouths of babes tolerance speech committed suicide eight or nine years later. I always understood it was partially because of the intolerance toward her love life, not from her family, but from everyone else. Regardless, a terrible thing.
It's been nearly thirty years since my sister took up for gay rights in public. Her first big action, as it were.
I'm so happy that marriage equality is the law of the land. We need full equality, in employment and housing and and and, but, today, for now, let's celebrate. What an amazing, fantastic thing. I can't believe it took this long.
My daughter isn't old enough to voice her gender identity, let alone a sexual preference, but it makes me awfully happy to think that her cohort will grow up to be appalled that that time her auntie spoke up about marriage equality in church ended up being the talk of the town. I'm so glad they're going to think marriage equality is the way things just are. Because obviously that's just how it ought to be.