Marriage Equality: Racism on the Side

My heart is filled with joy. My heart is filled with pain. My heart is filled with purpose. My heart is filled with hope.

Nearly ten years ago, the fear that ruled so much of my life slithered away in search of other victims. It had finally taken everything from me and left me without a home, without a family, nearly without a soul. But fear becomes only a shadow in the light of nothing left to lose, and some amazing people opened a door for me through which the nightmare was not allowed to follow. The great miracle they performed was to call me daughter, sister, mom.

Google tells me that I am 861.9 miles from my home in Topeka. Yesterday I provided two workshops for the United Church of Christ - Open and Affirming national gathering in Cleveland, Ohio. Workshops on being a transgender woman of faith. It must have been some kind of miracle that saw me travel through homelessness to presenting at a national faith conference. It must have most certainly been a miracle of the most miraculous variety.

What happened today - the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, by the slimmest of margins, that our constitution is still constitutional as is related to marriage equality - was another miracle of the most miraculous variety.

In 2005 - seven months before I came back to Kansas from 16 months in Colorado, homeless and with only hours of sobriety - the people of Kansas voted to deny equal marriage to same-sex couples. Much has changed in the last ten years for marriage equality. Much has changed in the last ten years for me.

What also happened today - as well as yesterday, and again in the coming days - was another tragedy of the most tragic variety. Victims of the racist murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church are being laid to rest.

What also happened today - in Kansas - is that Valdenia Winn faced possible expulsion from the Kansas House of Representatives because she stood up for the people who were being targeted by racist, bigoted legislators, by calling them out for who they are and what they were trying to do.

Perhaps it is also a miracle that the charges against Representative Winn - which clearly were designed to keep people from standing up to blatant prejudice and discrimination - were dropped. There is no possibility that they were dropped because the perpetrators of injustice had a change of heart.

So my heart is filled with joy. Joy that the state of Kansas and all states can no longer deny the love of same-sex couples. My heart is filled with pain. The losses of Emanuel AME leave emptiness that can never be completely healed. My heart is also filled with purpose, for the work that is left to do is enough to fill a thousand lifetimes a thousand times.

And my heart is filled with hope. I believe in my heart that we are closer to the day when we can join hands across differences and walk together with love, through pain, and with purpose. A day when equality is reality and violence is not a part of our daily lives.

A day when people stand up in unity and shout out an end to racist and bigoted legislators; an end to inequality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; and an end to all the otherness that infects our world with hatred and fear.

My heart is filled with hope because I know that there is an antidote for the poisons of discrimination and fear. I have seen it work miracles of the most miraculous kind. The antidote is love. Take all you need. Give all you can. Watch the light shine on the world.