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Hello from my parent's basement! No this isn't a YouTube cliche, yes this is really happening.
I'm home for the holidays at my parent's house and I'm packing up the last few bits of my stuff that I've left here over the years
and I'm here in my childhood bedroom
and I'm just thinking about what it was like to be a kid 10 years ago
when I was last here
and I'm remembering that this--like this right here--is where I was sitting
when I first found out that gay marriage had come to Massachusetts back in 2003
and I've just been thinking of what it was like for me to find out that
and I'm thinking about all of the things that have happened in the 10 years since then
And then I got to thinking about what I would like to see happen in the next 10 years
So, I guess I'm gonna share that with you now.
When gay marriage came to Massachusetts in 2003
I was 17, I was still living at home with my parents, I was here in this basement
I went on Yahoo! News one day and saw there that it had passed
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts had ruled that gay marriage was a constitutional right
and it--it just--like, blew my mind
Growing up, I didn't know any gay people
I didn't hear anything about gay couples
I didn't see anything about gay couples
I remember there was this one episode of Dawson's Creek that there was a gay couple in
and that was it
There was maybe Will & Grace but there was no one in my personal life that I could sort of look to
I mean, I knew that some gay people formed 'life partnerships' and it always just seemed
Like, cheap. I don't mean to disparage couples for whom that was their only option to form those partnerships, but
it just didn't feel like enough for me but I didn't know what else there was.
And then in 2003, to hear that first case, it just changed everything.
Maybe there was a place for me.
So fast-forward to 2013
Here we are and gay marriage is in what like 16 states?
It's in my home state Maryland, where I grew up; it's in Washington, DC where I was born;
it's in New York state, where I live now; and it's in California, where I went to college.
All of these important places to me, now I can get legally married if I want.
Not only that but the president of the United States of America
is on-board with gay marriage.
And one of the major national parties--the Democratic Party--makes LGBT issues part of their national platform.
This was just, like, not even an option in 2003.
George W. Bush was in favor of a constitutional amendment,
the Democrats weren't willing to touch it,
no one was talking about it.
So what are some other things have changed since 2003?
Congress also repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so now lesbian, gay, and bisexual people can serve openly in the military.
I got to thinking about what I want to see happen in the next 10 years
and here's what I've got.
What about all of the people who don't have jobs?
Are they just supposed to starve and be homeless and not get medical treatment for their health issues?
I think that's just a crappy situation.
What I want to see happen in the next 10 years is
we move past this idea of "right to work" and rather embrace an idea that we have a right to life.
that I want to live in a country where we take care of other people
That if someone is hungry, we feed them. Where if someone is sick, we take care of them.
Where if someone needs a home, we house them.
And sure, you might say "But people will game the system,"
but I just think we can do better than
making sure that you're not gonna get fired from your job at Wal-Mart
that doesn't even pay you enough to be above the federal poverty line.
If that's our standard of success, we're doing it wrong.
In 2023 I also want to look back and be able to say "Now every single transgender person
can access transition in the ways that are right for them."
No crossing your fingers that your health insurance will cover it--assuming you even have health insurance.
No needing to find a doctor that knows how to submit the forms in the right way.
No having to have a fundraiser or sell t-shirts
And this goes for things outside of medical transition.
Being able to not have to jump through hoops to change your name,
being able to access health care with a physician who knows and understands what it means to be a transgender person.
Over the next 10 years, one of things that I think *** and transgender have to offer
the straight community is we can teach them about chosen families.
I'm lucky enough that I have an amazing family of origin and an amazing chosen family.
*** people have been taking care of each other for decades.
We took care of people during the AIDS crisis, we take care of people when they're kicked out of their homes,
and we take care of people when they're raising money for transition costs.
We're not always perfect but if there's one thing *** people know how to do,
we know how to show up for each other.
And while we're talking about kids being kicked out of their homes...
that's another thing that I want to fix by 2023.
In New York City, there's a staggering number of homeless LGBT youth
and unfortunately when they arrive in New York City, they just don't have the support they need
Organizations like Sylvia's Place and The Ali Forney Center do amazing work
to support at-risk and homeless LGBT youth,
but there's just too much of a need.
And so let's not only do a better job of serving the LGBT youth that are already homeless,
let's work to make a world where they don't become homeless in the first place
Ok, that wraps up my little moment of childhood nostalgia
So I want to know from you:
Where were you when you first heard about gay marriage becoming legal?
and what are some things you want to see happen in the next 10 years?
Leave your ideas in the comments below, and
I'll see you soon.
Also when I was going through my room and cleaning out all my stuff I found
which is a happy box
which I made with Killy Rife in 2004 at YoungLife's Lake Champion
when I was there on summer staff
And you put things in it that make you happy
and so I probably did it from 2004 to, I dunno, 2006 or 2007
and I haven't looked inside of it in years
So if you want me to make a video where I open up the box,
and I go through what's inside of it,
let me know by leaving a comment or by liking this video
and I will see you soon