Oklahoma says "Ok" to Marriage Equality

When I initially read that an Oklahoma judge ruled a gay marriage ban unconstitutional, I didn’t believe it.  Almost smack dab in the middle of America, it’s hard to think of the mid-west as progressive.  But perhaps that’s merely my personal prejudice speaking. 

This past June I helped my mother, step father, little sister and her boyfriend pack up our beautiful Southern California home and proceeded to wave goodbye as they headed for a new start in a tiny town nineteen hours away.  With a U-Haul and thirst for adventure, they headed to Oklahoma for my step-father’s new job at a university my sister and her boyfriend were planning to attend.

All packed up and ready for adventure!

Since then, I’ve visited twice.  Because of a father employed by the Air Force, I’ve lived all around the world.  Five different states and three continents have been called my “home” over the past twenty-one years.  As a person who’s lived in more places than most have visited, I pride myself on my adaptability.  After the first excruciating lunch hour spent alone in a new cafeteria, I learned that adapting was important.  But perhaps even world travellers have stereotypes. 

When I stepped off the plane in Oklahoma City this past September, I inwardly cringed as I braced myself for a swarm of camouflage-clad, homophobic rednecks.

A peaceful Oklahoma morning spent sipping coffee on the porch

Instead of air rifles and hunting attire, I was greeted with a stunning sky that felt infinite, peaceful evenings spent on a back porch, a sprawling backyard covered in lush green grass and the kindest strangers I’ve ever met. 

During my time in the great Midwest, my mother underwent surgery on her back.  Because of the seriousness of the operation, my entire family stayed in the hospital overnight.  Shortly after the operation was complete and my mom was still coming out of her surgery-induced haze, there was a knock on the hospital door.  I went to answer it and was greeted by two middle-aged women with enormous smiles.  They gave me a quick hug before asking,

“We’re here to see your mom, sweetie. How’s she doing?”

I stepped back and allowed them entry.  

As the two visitors hovered over my mom and told her that she looked stunning, I recalled briefly meeting these two ladies at church the weekend before when my stepdad informed them of the approaching surgery. 

Their response to my stepfather’s information was to drive two hours in order to say hello to my mom post surgery.  But the kindness didn’t stop there.  The next week, our two hospital visitors and their husbands showered my family with delicious, home cooked meals: handmade cinnamon rolls, an entire roasted turkey, cakes, pot roast, bread rolls, salad, and homemade chicken noodle soup. Every day, for the next seven days, the doorbell rang at 5 PM and care was momentarily a tangible object as their homemade feasts passed from their hands to ours.

Recovery presents for my mom--including flowers from the church

The families who brought us food, sent flowers and took a road trip to visit my mom during her time of need didn’t know I was gay.  Because they were members of a small town church and residents of a miniscule town in the Midwest, I remember wondering if they would have still shown such kindness to my family if they had known I was queer.  Although I’ll never know for certain, I have a feeling that the answer to that question is a resounding yes.

As America continues to move towards equality for everyone, I hope to follow suit and not judge a place or group of people based on personal prejudices, stereotypes and fear.  After all, if we, as an LGBT family, hope for the world to change, I think it’s only fair that we meet it halfway.

Congratulations on marriage equality Oklahoma.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let us know what you think!