Tonight I cry.
I cry because I’m grateful.
I am grateful for the LGBT activists and allies who fought tirelessly to change the course of history. Those like Marsha P. Johnson and Harvey Milk, who were brave enough to be themselves. Those who were strong enough to stand up for what was right and fair. Those who fought to change laws, advocating for LGBT equality.
I am grateful that I do not have to fight this same fight. I do not have to live in a closet of fear, but rather live with pride outside of the closet. Because of the LGBT saints who have gone before me, I can be my authentic self and not be ashamed. I can one day legally marry the man I love. Life is easier for me because many people have fought for me.
I am grateful that my community accepts me for who I am. I have a growing family that continues to love me. I have friends scattered all over the country that encourage me and laugh with me. I have a boyfriend that makes me smile, and makes me feel appreciated.
For these things I am grateful.
Tonight I cry.
I cry because the fight is not over.
The fight for equality continues. We fight for the brave LGBTQ individuals serving our country in many forms, despite an administration that clearly does not support them. We fight for equal rights in the workplace, and fair housing opportunities in places that discriminate against sexual orientation and gender identity. We fight for LGBTQ youth who are bullied and are unable to find protection in their schools or families, and therefore think that suicide is the answer. We fight for full inclusion within our communities of faith, and not just partial acceptance.
I cry because I still feel the stares from people as I walk through the mall holding my boyfriend’s hand. I cry because someone I once respected and looked up to as a child sends me a hurtful message on Facebook outlining my “sinful lifestyle.” I cry because the church I called home for so long now feels so cold and unwelcoming towards me.
Tonight I cry, but tomorrow I will choose to smile because I still have hope.