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Many of my friends found themselves in awe the past few days. In awe of the fact that this nation has elected it's first black commander in chief, but also in awe at its continued penchant for bigotry.

"Thousands Protest Over Prop 8, LAPD on Tactical Alert"
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George Takei, one of the most visible gay Asians-Americans today, was one of the few Americans able to articulate their frustrations so soon after these humiliating defeats for the LGBT movement:

Best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on "Star Trek," Takei on Wednesday was disappointed but philosophical about California voters’ decision to yank that right by passing a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to heterosexual couples.

"There are going to be heartbreaks, setbacks and sacrifices to be made," he said, "but we will soldier on."

Indeed we will soldier on...

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You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

From the darkest moments of the LGBT rights movement have risen the greatest coming together of our community. If victories make us complacent, it is our defeats that rally us to a new level of community and activism. We stood up after mortal blows from Anita Bryant pushing her anti-gay vitriol in Florida. We rallied to the bedside of Matthew Shephard in his family's time of tribulation. More recently, we re-committed our vows to protect our youngest members in the wake of the murder of Lawrence King by a fellow classmate. In the wake of the passage of Prop 8, we see now and will see another historic re-awakening of our community.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
  Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Our temporary defeat only makes our eventual and inevitable victory all the more sweeter and cherishable. We are millions of human beings who love, mate, embrace, parent, mentor and live. The only difference is our non-heteronormativity.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

To every hurt soul out there, prop 8 is not your future. Your future is happiness, your future is community, YOUR FUTURE IS THE OPTION TO START A FAMILY OF YOUR OWN. Your future can be wedding vows. Your future can be love. Your future can be all those annoying things married couples complain about. Your future is not defined by the forces of the past, the forces behind Prop 8. Your future is the only age demographic that opposed Prop 8, those 18-29 years old.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

We're going to continue the struggle because a wise human once said, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

I am motivated and energized by our TEMPORARY setbacks.

Conservatives are on the wrong side of history.

My fellow progressives, just remember:

They once fought us on women suffrage, yet on Nov. 4th we had the highest women voter turnout in 90 years.

They once fought us on interracial marriage, and love prevailed.

They once fought us on segregation, and now we have a black President.

They fight us now on marriage equality, but one day I will marry the man of my life.

They demean our relationships, but one day I will adopt my 1st child.

They call us immoral, but one day a Hindu priest will consecrate my committment to my future husband.

They will fight us, but we will always prevail.

It may still be dark, but morning in America is always a few moments away.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Featured Poem: "Still I Rise" by Dr. Maya Angelou

Originally posted to theantidesi101 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  nicely done (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, highacidity, mariva

      tipped & rec'd.

    •  All Men Are Created Equal. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, highacidity, mariva, rubine

      In the upcoming biopic on Harvey Milk they've included a line from one of his speeches which is one I just can't live without, right now.

      "All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can NEVER erase those words."

      No matter what 52% of my fellow Californians say, these words were true when he said them in 1978, they are true today, and if we stand together, we will ensure that they will ALWAYS be true.

      You've gotta give them hope.

      You should listen to this. This is the "Hope Speech" that Milk gave a few months before he was murdered:

      •  I'm a straight guy, but this really pisses me off (0+ / 0-)

        I have hopes that the Supreme Court will rule the amendment unconstitutional.

        I have confidence that, no matter what, this injustice will not stand.

        I am determined to take a hand in the fight for the rights of every man, woman and child, especially in this case.

        Because this is all so patently WRONG.

  •  Rec'd. Wonderful diary, (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for putting this together.

    the third eye does not weep. it knows. Political compass: -9.75 / -8.72

    by mijita on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:04:22 PM PST

  •  It ain't over (8+ / 0-)

    It's only just begun.  Wait until it gets before the California Supreme Court.  

    They don't like smart asses who try to modify their full exhaustive definitive rulings and try to not merely amend the California Constitution by adding something to an existing clause, but actually revise it with poorly written initiatives.  They've seen this movie before too.

    And there is the further culture war to be carried on.

    •  It's great that we still have legal recourse left (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, sobermom, mariva, Airpower

      but just in case it doesn't work out, we need to prepare to have a better ground game next time around. No GOTV, almost no canvassing, focused heavily on pro-gay areas? Of course we failed.

      •  we could make history in 2010 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Airpower

        I know this will shock some people, but just this once, I actually want the court to stay out of it. I think we can really win in 2010.  The trends are in our favor. If we couldn't, I'd be all up for the courts deciding it, but if it's reasonable to assume we could win in two years, we would send a HUGE message to the country and the world by getting a majority of CA voters to support equal marriage rights. Somehow I feel like a victory at the ballot box would resonate much more than a judicial decision. It might also give the ultimate arbiter in the nation, the Supreme Court of the United States, a reason to finally get involved in this debate and settle it once and for all - hopefully on our side.

        •  If SCOTUS gets involved... (0+ / 0-)

          Be prepared for the return of the Federal Marriage Amendment.  3/4 of the states already have laws on the books banning marriage equality.  No, our best bet is CA State Supreme Court, which should cause some inertia in other states ready to fall (Iowa?).

    •  You really think it (0+ / 0-)

      will be repealed? I don't live there so I'm not familiar with California law. I hope it will be though.

      "ENOUGH!" - Barack Obama

      by indiemcemopants on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:18:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Payback is a bitch (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeltaBadhand

      Let's start supporting Blue Utah.

      If it doesn't already exist, let's start it up, fund it, and make those goddamn Mormons regret ever coming into our state to mess with us.

  •  A bittersweet day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, mariva

    I was with my friends who were all happy about the great breakthrough for civil rights while I was torn while our state voted Jim Crow into the constitution.

    I will never stop standing up for equal rights.

    Tough Day? Just say "President Obama!"

    by Mo on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:12:07 PM PST

  •  Recommended. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, mariva

    Beautiful, thanks.

    "ENOUGH!" - Barack Obama

    by indiemcemopants on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:15:00 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary ... the advancement (4+ / 0-)

    of civil rights is a never ending journey.

    Apropos of several earlier diaries that reflect misdirected anger against the AA community for the Prop 8 results:

    Nate Silver identifies only two demographic groups who underperformed the 2004 vote -- Obama's support from Gays and Lesbians was 7% less than John Kerry's.

    Let us take care not to make similar erroneous extrapolations from this data.

    Rome is burning ... put down the fiddle.

    by ancblu on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 02:16:43 PM PST

  •  Why doesn't the DLC back OUT candidates? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grey skies turning to blue

    Because they long ago decided that LGBT issues were third rail politics.  Do you see any connection between Obama's absence in this fight and the fact that the Democratic Party has not once backed an OUT candidate for Congress?  Until that happens you need to be prepared for the DLC to betray you over and over again.  C'mon.  Are we serfs that need straight surrogates to represent our issues in Congress?  Let's wake up and start demanding genuine representation for our votes.

  •  Friends (4+ / 0-)

    Lets go after the tax exempt status of the Mormon church and let us identify Mormon controlled bussiness interests. Organize a boycott of them. Remember the Anita Bryant case, she chose to attack the gay community and the boycott of Florida orange Juice did away with her job and her bigotry.

    •  *sigh* Mormons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, mariva

      Google the name "Stuart Matis".

      They don't give a crap who they kill, they're on a crusade.  This is a Cult that advocates Gay Bashing.  Google "To Young Men Only Excerpts from Boyd K. Packer".

      They don't wear hoods, and they value "politeness" above all else, but they are as nasty as Fred Phelps.

      They don't care if they lose their status, they care if the public knows the truth about the depth of their hatred.  Just like their racist policies, they will not change untill EXPOSED and ridiculed.

      The bright light of Public Scrutiny is the only thing that has ever changed these people - only when it hurts their recruitment will it matter.

  •  This is a lovely, inspiring diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, mariva

    But the damage isn't confined to the LGBT community.  It is done to the progressive community as a whole.  The RNC's strategy, in opposing the Obama administration, will be, among other things, to claim that the US is a center-right country.  In this way they will frame arguments against needed progressive reforms such as real progressive income tax and universal health care, banking, financial reform, as 'too radical' for 'center-right' America.  

    And what will be their proof?  Why, JUST LOOK at California -- everything happens in California first, they will say, and just this week Californians have soundly struck down same-sex marriages.  Even California, they will claim, has moved center-right.  And look at Florida and Arizona, too.  

    No, this isn't just an isolated setback.  When President Obama says we aren't just gay and straight, Americans, black and white Americans, he isn't just presenting his personal vision, but he is describing reality.  tt is axiomatic: If a rising tide raises all boats, then the converse is surely true.  

    Prop 8 is the first defeat of the Obama administration, 75 days before it is begun..

  •  Now THIS is the kind of encouragement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom

    and comforting that I need.  It's been a rough couple of days.

    And there've been too many telling me, as if wasn't a damn thing to do with them, that it was "the gays" own fault for not doing a better job.  Sure, there's room to strategize and learn from our mistakes, but it's horrible to tell someone who's just been hurt about being more careful. Give 'em a hug, fer crying out loud.  The damn advice can come later.

    The front page here has been passionately supportive, as have many, many, others -- thanks to you all.  

    My new hope is that with most visible of all milestones now triumphantly achieved for African Americans, that the struggle for fundamental rights for GLBT folks will now take a turn on center stage.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:59:29 AM PST

  •  I wish I could soilder on... (0+ / 0-)

    "They fight us now on marriage equality, but one day I will marry the man of my life.

    They demean our relationships, but one day I will adopt my 1st child."

    I don't think the court cases will work in our favor.  If the "will of the people" is subverted by "activist judeges", it will surely be a trigger to energize an even stronger "anti" force.

    And as an older gay man, who has friends who have been married for 30 years, I (selfishly) hoped that gay marriage in CA would be the catalyst to spread marriage equality to my state rather quickly. And that this would hopefully, bring the "gays can't adopt" issue out into the light and resolve that too.

    Now, I sincerely doubt it will happen in my life time. So while younger folks will "one day" marry and "one day" adopt.  I figure my life will end with things the way they're are today or even worse...

    Selfish as it my sound, it's really difficult to "rise" out of the depression, hurt and overall sadness I feel solely based on the fact that it will help others longer term...

    The only action I plan to take is boycotting further travel to Utah and any products produced there. It's the only way I can personally have any direct (even if it's ultimately meaningless) effect.

    I have been to Utah on pleasure trips, but most often (4 times this year alone) on business and I have already informed my boss that I will nolonger be able to travel thier for company business (boy, did that not go over well.)

    I've been a lurker here for at least 5 years. This is my first post. Sorry to be a downer.

  •  How can I help? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm a queer girl living in Nebraska, and I don't have a lot of money to donate. Anyone have suggestions as to how I can help in this effort?

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