There is no doubt that Prop 8 caused a lot of pain to our community. I think of my dear friend, who has dedicated her life to supporting families, who has made such a profound difference that just the people I know of who have been blessed by her work hail from all over this country, and Canada, Ireland, South Africa, and Australia. She married her wife twelve years ago, and remarried legally on her twelfth anniversary. Her work has saved the marriages of straight folks, yet straight folks took her marriage away from her.
There is nothing about her loss that is greater or lesser than anyone else's in our community; I point it out only to illustrate the monumental injustice of Prop 8.
Yet violence does nothing to further our interests. In fact, it is a failure, a forfeiture of dignity, a disgrace of self. We will not win this way.
This issue is about love, and we will win with love, not with violence; with compassion, not with hate.
I have heard of fingers pointing to the Mormon Church, or to the black community. And I say to you, no organization walked into a voting booth and voted against us. Only individuals did that; and each one of them pulled the lever that said Yes, We Will Take Away Your Marriage for their own individual reasons.
We will not change that vote by protesting organizations or communities. We will change that vote by being visible with our neighbors, our co-workers, our children's friends, the people we meet on the street – tearing down walls of ignorance and fear one person at a time. Yes, take to the streets – as I did, with my boys, on Saturday's "Join the Impact" demonstrations – but with nonviolence.
Ironically, our greatest weapon is provided by the words of the prophet our most ardent opponents idolize: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
I ask us all, do not underestimate the power of this precept. It has been proven. Yes, we are angry; but if we channel that anger into violence, we surrender our power. We can do better than that. As Gandhi said, "There is no power on earth greater than the indomitable will." That indomitable will is not found in violence. It is found in Love, and Compassion. Channel that anger into your indomitable will. Be that Love, and we will win.
I call on you, my LGBT community: Now is the time to listen. Now is the time to be visible. Hold hands in public. Call your spouse "husband," or "wife." Let your neighbor, your doctor, your grocer, your co-worker, know who you are. I know, it can be scary – believe me, I know how frightening visibility can be. As a transwoman, I'm visible every step I take. I know that it leaves us vulnerable to the violence of those who hate us. Even so, it gets easier with time, with visibility; courage feeds on courage. Hold your love high, and know its truth. It's a lot harder to vote against a stranger than a friend, or even an acquaintance.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "Am I not destroying my enemies, when I make friends of them?" You do not make friends with invisibility, nor do you make friends with violence.
Let us destroy our enemies, in the way Abe suggests – one at a time, making friends.