I was angry during much of 2012. It came to a head the day after the Presidential election.
My mother and I talk often, but we did not discuss politics in the run up to the election. My anger got in the way, something we both figured out pretty quickly and care was taken to avoid the topic. I know now that was a mistake.
I received an email from her the day after the election: "Congrats on your candidate's win. I sincerely hope I am wrong about what is going to happen to our country and our future. I am glad I am on the downside of my life."
Instant RAGE! I snapped back, "We survived Bush, you'll survive Obama. Perhaps you can take some comfort in the fact that your children and their families may actually one day have equal access to the protections and benefits offered to heterosexual Americans. It breaks my heart that it is seemingly okay with you for my family to be treated as second class citizens, that you feel our country can grow and move forward with such injustice as the status quo. I am proud the majority of our country did not support the far right social agenda on which your candidate campaigned."
That email exchange led to an emotional conversation where I clued her in to how our lives and our financial health have been and continue to be negatively impacted by not being allowed access to marriage, how the issue being politicized makes it that much more disheartening and humiliating, how DOMA impacts gays legally married in states that allow it.
Her response surprised me greatly. She said, "You never told me! How was I to know?!"
I no longer assume people pay attention to or understand the issues homosexuals face in today's America. I've also become rather obsessed with knowing where people in my life stand on the issue of marriage equality. I speak up when the topic arises, at times bringing it up myself. I share how the issues affect me and my family with people who know us in whatever capacity.
I may not change any minds, but my anger has dissipated. That's a welcome improvement.