Every time I see a Facebook status or a tweet that reads like this:
I personally think that our country has much bigger problems than debating gay marriage. Severe obesity, soaring healthcare costs, poverty, starving children, immigration, texting and driving to name a few.

You will change your profile pic to show that you are supportive - but what are you ACTUALLY doing to help our country?

I promise the supreme court doesn't care about your Facebook profile picture.

I know right away that the person behind the words has no tangible friendship or touchable connection with a person who is gay. I know that the person is speaking from a place devoid of the sort of empathy that comes from truly connecting with a person who is being deprived of rights.

Because let me tell you why I changed my profile picture to that small, meaningless speck of red peppered with two horizontal bars. I did it not because I think it's going to influence Justice Kennedy's legal opinion. I'm a few months shy of being a lawyer, so I'm in as good a position as anyone to know that matters like this are decided in the reaches of highly analytical and highly calculated minds that sit under black robes.

No. I change my profile picture because I have friends who are gay. I have former co-workers who've displayed to me their humanity through their professionalism and their skill. I have friends who I've sat with to discuss the ways in which real-world bigotry keeps them from enjoying a full life. These are people I respect, and they are people who deserve respect.

And they should know that in their fight, in their battle for equality, they are not alone. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have been a black person during the 1960s, fighting out of second-hand citizenship to a place of at least some equality. If I had been there, and I had been black, I I might have looked to some of the people I thought were friends, and I might have said: "Are you out there?"

I change my profile picture because, unlike you, conservative who is only concerned about concepts like "children starving" and "poverty" when it helps you make a point about the triviality of gay marriage, I understand that the freedom of each of us is tied to the freedom of everyone. It's that unmalleable concept that says to my gay friends: your liberation is bound up with mine.

I change my profile picture not because I've forgotten that there are big problems in the world. To the contrary, it's because I remember that our problems are big, and big problems are only solved by groups of people with the conviction to stand up with one another and for one another. Because during a day when I might advocate for protections for the poor, I can take a few seconds out to show my gay brothers and sisters that they are loved, respected, and worthy of support. It's not because I'm some great ambassador for gay rights. It's them, my friends so willing to fight for their own rights, who are the heroes, and if I can do the smallest something to show them that they're not on an island, then I will do that.

My profile picture didn't change because I think such a change will change the world. It changed because I'm lucky enough to have tangible relationships with real people whose lives are dramatically affected by this movement. And I'm sorry that you don't.

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