Amy Hunter

Do ya feel it too?

Filed By Amy Hunter | September 07, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics
Tags: civil rights, Kalamazoo, Legislation, LGBT civil rights, LGBT Rights, Michigan

Do you feel it too? The energy. The excitement. The focus?

I feel it. Here in Kalamazoo, it's palpable. It's in the air.

Iowa, Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and, yep, Kalamazoo. (Remember? I'm your gal in Kalamazoo?) All these places are in the forefront of my consciousness nearly every waking moment of every day. Unfortunately, Prop 8, Kansas, and Florida are too. What's interesting is that even in defeat there lies promise for me today. I know it in my bones, some inexorable force has been unleashed and I see it and feel it in everyone I know.

I am on the staff of the One Kalamazoo campaign. My colleagues and I are pouring every ounce of energy we possess into seeing to it that a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusive non-discrimination ordinance is affirmed at the polls on November 3.

As I walked into our Tuesday afternoon staff meeting all eyes were intent on Jon, our campaign manager. You could feel the intensity with which everyone's attention was directed toward him.

Suddenly, it seemed as if everyone wanted to speak at once. Ideas came pouring out of what had become a collective consciousness. Wow - the energy in that room. From complete silence to cacophony in an instant and both states were imbued with an urgency that I've scarcely experienced before.

It's that energy I feel coming from all over. It's focused and intense and it's different. At our campaign office you don't hear much sarcasm or bitterness--no blame, no self-pity. What you do hear are people who are inspired and they want to inspire others too.

Do you feel it? If you do, we want to know. We have a wall filling up with inspirational stories. The One Kalamazoo staff have all written or drawn their tale and put it up to inspire one another. Will you send us yours? If you have a story of inspiration you would like to share, send it to us.

No one on the One Kalamazoo staff, me included, is naïve enough to think that equality will just happen in Kalamazoo even if we wish really, really hard. What has happened is that we have become willing to use a different way of thinking about whom and what we are.

Gone are the antithetical knee jerk reactions that cause us to either apologize for being who we are, or to shout, shout louder, as if turning up the volume is all that is needed in order to be understood. Believe me, we know that we face the same opposition, the same slander, all of it. We simply choose to play by a new set of rules today - and they're all positive.

One thing that transition taught me was that I had to be willing to live in the solution. If I approached my life from a completely different point of view, it was possible to understand that transition was the solution to what had been a life-long crisis.

I stopped apologizing for myself - something akin to that is what is transpiring today in the national conscience of the LGBT community The finger pointing and the blame game no longer seem feel appropriate. I get up everyday and work for gay and transgender equality with a bunch of people who are inspired, who are living in the solution and they inspire many others every day.

Last night our offices were absolutely packed and buzzing with volunteers who couldn't wait to start the phone bank action. In another room a local social justice group was holding a steering committee meeting. Jon and I were busy meeting with various staff people. It was inspiring.

So, do you feel it too? I hope so and I want to hear about it. Share your inspiration with "Your Gal in Kalamazoo"


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Fun blog. Shared around. Hope some of you all's energy gets carried to WASH DC in October too. ... work up a kazoo band!

We all have this energy, we just need to be willing to find it. It's there deep within if we look for it.

Yes, I feel it especially as you show it here.

Thanks Rob-I think it would be great if you shared some more about how what I've tried to describe feels to you. Share it here with everyone or send it on directly to amy@bilerico.com

Thanks for all the hard work you and Jon are doing in Kalamazoo, Amy.

Thanks Bil! Jon Hoadley is an amazing Campaign Manager. We have a great staff too--Trystan Reese came to us from NGLTF to be our Field Ops Director, he's terrific. Darryl Watson-Field Organizer. Matt McCain from Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality (KAFE)-Office Manager. Kelly Doyle from KAFE-Finance Director. Miranda Rosenberg, Richard Nicholson, Cody Dekker, Liz Dean, Alena, Lindsey and far, far too many dedicated volunteers to even begin to list!

Part of my being a closeted trans woman for more years than I care to admit was a sense of powerlessness and isolation. These were two of the things that kept my true self hidden away.

The first time I attended Equality and Justice Day in Albany, NY (2008) was an eye opener and inspiration to me. To be in a large room with over 1,500 TBLG activists and their allies gathered in one place to push for issues that affected us all was unbelievably empowering and brought me a level of inspiration that was not equaled until this past years E&J Day.

I like to joke that my motivation for being as activist as I can comes from being so damn pissed off at those who would treat us badly, it's a reaction to losing all that privilege. It's funny because it's not very far from the truth. My anger does motivate me. But that said, the power that can be felt when LTGB people get together for a common cause is one that inspires me to work towards our full equality.

Well said Emelye. Thanks for your story.