Editor's Note: Zythyra is an acoustic musician, writer and activist who lives in NH.
Like many LGBTIQ Americans, I was both elated and devastated by the election results this past week. I am absolutely elated that President-elect Barack Obama won the election. I feel like a great weight has been lifted from our collective shoulders and that after eight years we finally have hope for a better, more compassionate America.
But it was a bittersweet victory. Like many others I was devastated by the passage of the various anti LGBTIQ bills across the country including Prop 8 in California. I was also devastated by some in the LGBTIQ community casting blame at other minorities, especially African-Americans, for our failures at winning these.
I don't have a TV and thus am not a regular watcher of Countdown, but I did see Keith Olbermann's Special Comment online. It was among the most moving things I've heard this entire week since Prop 8 was passed and it gives me hope that someday, hopefully sooner than later, we'll achieve our rights.
I've been thinking a lot about our struggle for equality this past week, and thinking about what it will take to achieve our goals of full equality. I've always been annoyed by the fact that an oppressed minority has rarely gotten their rights until people who weren't members of that minority joined the struggle. But, if that's what it takes, then we need the majority to join us as allies. Right away!
We can't just sit around and wait for cis-sexual and heterosexual people to decide to join us as allies, we need to become pro-active in recruiting allies. We all need to talk to our neighbors, friends, employers, coworkers, families, church members, ministers, etc. We need to educate them about our lives, tell our stories, and inspire them to become active in our struggle. We need to help them understand how they are affected by our rights. We need to remind our allies that in previous struggles for equality, white people joined the march with people of color, men joined the march with women, etc. We need them to march with us now. We also need to continue to listen to our allies about their current struggles, and join with them as well. It isn't a one way street.
I hope that every straight person that heard Keith Olbermann's comments is moved to action, and will join us immediately as allies in our struggle for full equality. Not just to passively support us around the dinner table, but to become active in working with us to achieve our rights. They also need to talk to their neighbors, friends, employers, coworkers, families, church members, ministers, etc., adding more allies one by one.
And while we're at it, let's not only ask them to join us for achieving marriage equality for same sex couples. Let our allies know that we need full equality in employment, housing, military, immigration, anti-discrimination laws, hate crime laws, etc. Let them know that all of these are not only needed for sexual orientation, but must also include gender identity and expression.
We can't do it alone!