Why I’m Keeping My Avatar Red

Now that the Supreme Court hearings are over, and Time has declared a winner, TJ and I can finally go to bed tonight no longer being treated like second class citizens.

Oh, wait.

You see, although I will marry TJ in DC (where gay marriage is legal), we live in Virginia, which I’m pretty sure will be the 52nd state/territory to even remotely consider marriage equality. Recall that until 1967, you could be arrested here for marrying someone of a different race. (And we’re gay *and* interracial. YIKES!)

So everyday, when we cross the Potomac River and come home, we’ll once again just be “roommates”… which is fine, I guess, if I wanted to live in an episode of Friends, circa when Monica and Chandler were sneaking around behind everyone’s backs.

Yes, yes, we could move. But we like where we live. We get more square footage for our money, and there’s a Taco Bell down the street, for crying out loud.

And yes, we will file paperwork to ensure that we give each other power of attorney, etc., etc., in case something unforeseen happens.

But apparently something magical happens to our relationship in the eyes of our beloved Commonwealth when we cross that river. For one, I doubt that I’m paying less in taxes, even though I’m getting fewer protections and privileges than heterosexual Virginians do. And I expect that none of our married heterosexual friends experience that same magic, even if they hate each other’s guts or are having affairs left and right.

And that inequality is what stings. We get “skim milk marriage” (Thanks, RBG!) while a man and woman who were set up by 40 million people by text get full-fat marriage?

Now, it would be incredibly selfish of me to think that these inequalities are a big deal, considering that I’m living in/near/around the 4th gayest city in America. Honestly, they’re inconveniences, at least for now. (You can read about what I get for my taxes here.) And I’ve been blessed to have had homophobic slurs thrown my way only a handful of times.

But I’m keeping my avatar red not just for me.

I’m keeping my avatar red because we’re not there yet.

I’m keeping it red because I want people to know where I stand on this issue.

I’m keeping it red because I want you — the people I care about on the Facebook (and some on the Twitter) — to remember that this is bigger than you and me.

This is about how we treat each other as citizens, and for those of us who subscribe to a religious tradition (by choice!), as brothers and sisters. This is about how we create a world where kids don’t have to hide in fear or be ashamed of who they are. This is about creating a world where everyone is valued, where everyone is loved.

We’ve come so far, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

But like Harvey said, I gotta give ’em hope.

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