Carrie and Elisia Ross-Stone are dedicated to the goal of marriage equality. But these grannies aren't sitting around in rocking chairs waiting for something to happen. Instead, they mounted their bicycles and rode across the country. TWICE.
Along the way, they inspired other activists and won the hearts and minds of many people. They also experienced injury, frustration, exhaustion, and threats. But with every milestone reached along their journey, Carrie and Elisia's dedication grew with each mile traveled.
These lesbian grandmothers first bike cross country in 2003. Before their 2004 ride, they captured the attention of filmmaker Keith Wilson. Keith joined them as they rode from San Francisco to New York City. His cameras told a compelling story about two women with a deep love for each other. It is that love for each other and their family that drove them to their hyper-activism. You can read more about the film at www.lesbiangrandmothersfrommars.com
Together, they planned their itinerary, reach out to LGBT organizations, made calls to the press, wrote speeches, and mended flat bicycle tires. I admire them immensely for their dedication to equal rights.
I saw the documentary that Keith Wilson made about their 2004 "Rainbow Ride Across America" last night at a screening here in Washington. After the screening, Carrie, Elisia, and Keith joined the audience for a conversation via Skype. They said something that really bothered me.
There was no national LGBT organization that helped fund, promote, or support in any way their efforts to raise awareness on marriage equality. The response they were given was that their timing was off and it wasn't time to raise awareness. I'd like to know exactly who told them that because they were incredibly wrong. Let me remind you that in 2004, THIRTEEN states passed constitutional amendments to discriminate against LGBT families. Doesn't sound like bad timing to me!
I'm sure that in those thirteen states, millions of dollars were contributed by national organizations. However, there was nothing for these lesbian grannies. Not even gas money for their RV support vehicle.
Having worked for a national organization and being in contact with activists around the country, I know what kind of resources are available and how the money is spent. I won't suggest raising a stink for the short-sighted error in judgment that left these ladies to fend for themselves. I will, however, suggest that one or more national organizations adopt them and their cause.
Carrie and Elisia are effective spokespeople on this issue. If they were given proper support in the areas of organizing and press outreach, they could reach large audiences across the country. What they have done so far without this kind of help is amazing. I know there are millions of dollars literally being thrown at issues in our community. Surely, somebody in this movement can find some support to throw their way.
I don't know if they're up for a third cross country trip, but I'd like to see them do it. The only difference is I want hundreds of thousands of people to hear their unique message. We as a movement need it.