The queer patriot

Feb 4, 2009 at 6:00 am

I now have a winter hat that says “I (heart) Obama America.”

I have never owned anything that would identify me as an American in a foreign country; there is a Canadian flag patch sewn on the backpack I use for travel in foreign countries.

Ever since returning from D.C., I have worn my hat with a kind of pride I’ve never felt, thought I would feel or would normally admit to feeling. (I mean, I am kinda “Go U.S.” when the Olympics are on; I’ve even shed a tear during the playing of our national anthem in the medal ceremonies, but that has more to do with the athletes than the country.) I actually can’t believe I’m risking the label of “Patriot.”

But I am.

There was much coverage of President Obama’s inauguration on TV and radio — about the peacefulness, happiness, generosity of the millions of people who attended. And, according to my experience, this is all true. I have never fallen in love with millions of people all at once. I stood in line for almost two hours for a cup of coffee and didn’t hear anyone complain. Come to think of it, I didn’t hear anyone raise a voice or say anything negative the entire two days I was there. The inauguration was a wonderful example of actual peace and goodwill.

The moment after it was announced that Barack Obama was our president, everyone yelled and jumped up and down; I almost hugged the man I accidentally made eye contact with (alas, I’m not so touchy-feely). I would bet $1 million in 1998 cash ($10 million now) that none of this happened at a Bush inauguration.

And, just like the other straight couples around us, even though there were innocent children hanging around, my girlfriend and I hugged and kissed (well, not just like). And there was no mass decision to end marriage, or become gay. In fact, no one noticed. I will bet any amount of money that at any other (reaching across the aisle here) inauguration or “family” event, we would have, at the very least, been called names or asked to leave.

My experience of the inauguration showed me that without question, I will be proven prophetic: Gay marriage will be legalized in 2009.

Even though no one watching the events preceding the inauguration on TV (raddest concert ever … so I’m told) saw openly gay Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, or saw the people cheering during his prayer, 2009 remains the Year of the Queer.

Even though Josh Grobin was performing with the Gay Men’s Chorus at the inauguration kick-off concert, and only he was identified as being on stage and they were never identified during their performance (it’d be like no one mentioning Bono during or before his performance), it remains the Year of the Queer.

During the Bush Crisis, I constantly heard that I wasn’t the “typical American,” that people like me, with my beliefs and values, were too liberal for America. I never understood how people like me could only be in California or along the East Coast; I never understood how people who had never been to a state could be an authority on its people.

I truly hated that.

Well, move over bacon, payback’s a biotch: You who hate gay people (and/or don’t believe in a woman’s right to choose, or equality for all races and sexes) are out of touch with the average American. You are too conservative.

Our president, America’s representative, had the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Band Association marching in his inaugural parade. Our commander-in-chief included us in his acceptance speech of his party’s nomination for president. Our country’s leader says you need to recognize yourself in me (and vice versa) in order to “perfect our union.”

So, queers, it is time to educate Louisville, time to make Kentucky the first state to legalize gay marriage. There are so many of us, there’s no way we can still be an “other” or a “them.” And for those who think God hates queers, get with the program.

You’re still wrong.