Lane Hudson

Lesbian Grandmothers from Mars

Filed By Lane Hudson | July 09, 2007 12:41 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Lesbian Grandmothers, marriage equality

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

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.

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Wow! These ladies sound spectacular. I would love to meet them...please keep us updated!

Thanks so much for your supportive words, Lane.

Encouragement and validation -- of every sort - really makes our sacrifice worth while!

We all need to work on this issue together and it is a shame that some of the National LGBTQ Organizations seem more interested in maintaining the status quo than fighting hard for our families.

A week after we finished the 2004 ride, we went to a rally in D.C. where Marriage Equality California had arranged with other groups to rally at the end of their cross-country bus tour.

The DC rally was supposed to be huge -- with 5 or 6 prominent LGBT Organizations -- including the 2 largest - coordinating the effort. Hundreds were expected to attend the rally at the request of these organizations -- and it was to be televised on C-SPAN.

Unfortunately, at the last minute (we did not even find out until we arrived in D.C.) the two largest National organizations - both with headquarters right there in D.C. -- dropped out.

Why?? Because the Kerry Campaign asked them NOT to push the marriage issue for fear it would hurt Kerry's chances in November!

Thus, OUR needs were rejected as the wishes of the Kerry Campaign were honored.

We believe the National Organizations are more interested in maintaining access to power than doing the right thing.

Can you imaging MLK agreeing to that kind of political B-S?

Andrew Sullivan
and others have been writing about this for some time. Maybe we need to keep the pressure on these big organizations that forgot on which side their proverbial bread is buttered!

Carrie & Elisia Ross-Stone
The Rainbow Grannies

What an amazing story. . .you ladies just leave me speechless!

While I struggle to do 10 miles every couple of days here on my bike. . .well, the work you've done in raising face-to-face awareness of real experiences is something to be very proud of - and it's inspiring to all of us.

Thanks for such an inspiring story, Lane. Welcome to the project! (I'm a little late commenting after yesterday's hectic start, I know!)

I can understand why some groups wouldn't have wanted to bring attention to marriage right before the general election, but - geez - the right thing to do would have been give them some cash and explain why rallying wasn't the best idea at the time and help them to do it the day AFTER the election.

Politics is politics. Sometimes it doesn't end up working out the way we envision or we have to do things we don't really want in exchange for the end goal. It sucks, but it's part of life.

I wish the ladies success in any future trips. I'd be happy to donate to their cause.