We all will be writing and talking about it, calling it the “Stonewall moment,” remembering where we were when we heard it, how it felt, how we never thought we would ever hear...
We have been so long inured to our never being mentioned. It is like women who have forever been told not to worry: the word “men” means everybody. Not to worry: you women are included. The use of the masculine to denote the everyone was so endemic, we women had to be inured to it, or else give up on language and culture entirely. So we automatically translate (still) the verses of hymns, the language of prayers and ritual, the cherished words of historic documents that codify freedoms for . . .er, . . .men, (not to worry it means all of us).
Hearing the word “Stonewall” spoken from inarguably the most powerful podium in the world on a day when the entire world is listening, hearing eloquent mention of the value of love between all couples even same sex couples, hearing it was visceral for me. Every cell in my body heard him and resonated inside me.
There were days not so long ago that I might have said—or understood those who said--to a liberal politician: Not to worry. Don’t worry about me. Keep your support of me and my gender and my sexual preference and my rights to marry quiet. Don’t rock the ship of state because it is in your power to secure other great and wonderful things and speaking of your support of me might jeopardize all of that. I can wait. Not to worry. I am inured. I can endure. I have internalized my oppression so well I can hold on. I can wait.
Those were days not so long ago. But now, I have heard the not to worry message in a whole new way. I will not worry in the same way again because I have been acknowledged. Indeed, I acknowledged my own self a long time ago and claimed my place and I do sing my song. But being acknowledged by the most powerful person in the world speaking from the most powerful podium in the world says: your worries are included in all of our worries. We will secure the solutions together. And we will.
So, where were you when you heard it? Did you ever, ever think . . .?