A is also for “after midnight” and “at the sink,” where I find I always do my best thinking. Something about being up late and tired, when the thought-restrictive parts of the brain begin to fall asleep, and doing manual, repetitive motion, known to relieve stress, just brings out all my inspiration. Einstein might have taken naps for his sudden bursts of ingenuity. I just do the dishes.
At the NCCC Student Leadership Institute earlier this month (check the Further Reading page to learn more), I often found myself feeling a bit left out when most of the other attendants were presidents of their colleges’ SGA’s, or Student Government Associations. I’d chuckle a bit to mask my vexation and say I’ve got the same letters, just in a different order: I’m president of my college’s GSA, that is, our Gay-Straight Alliance.
Thinking then, it seemed rather small in comparison. SGA’s help the entire student body, advocating for them and helping the school in lots of ways I don’t even know about. But the GSA? It only helps the GLBT community and our allies, while hopefully helping the entire student body to become more accepting of everyone else.
Tonight however, after midnight, at the sink, I began to see things a little differently. It started with a conversation my family had with my brother over Skype. It began casually enough: Happy father’s day! Then, as the hour went on, it moved onto his wedding plans and what he and his fiancee want to have. I focused more intently on Design Star then and tried not to be bitter.
I’m bitter easily. Weddings and children are wonderful–they truly are!–but for me, it’s all bittersweet. I can’t have children, and in most states, I can’t even adopt. And in all states but five and D.C., I definitely cannot get married. Does any of this make me less happy for my nieces or my brother? Of course not! But all this happiness remains tempered by the fact that everything they have–everything that right now they take for granted as basic rights–are still denied to me. By biology, by law, by popular opinion.
I can’t change biology (that’s a fact I came to terms with years ago) and nor would I want to. But I can, with enough effort and determination, change both law and popular opinion. And that’s when it struck me: SGA’s might help an entire student body, but GSA’s can help entire categories of people that are presently denied the basic rights that others take for granted.
Action. Every reaction begins with an action. Every change is itself a reaction to some stimulus that acts as catalyst for that change. So far, the GSA has been lax. So far, this has been mostly my own doing. As president, I’ve had the ambition, but not the skills necessary to turn that ambition into action. Because of the SLI, that’s no longer the case. Now I know how to take this ambition and turn it into motivation that I can share with my group to propel all of us into action.
We can make a change. All we have to do is take action.
I’ve got a mind overflowing with ideas for the GSA, and I hope that my group continues to support my being president so that I can lead us through all of these ideas–and the many ideas and changes that I know my group will bring to the table–so that I can continue to have this honor until it’s my turn to graduate. I want to tackle head on issues like HIV/AIDS, adoption, marriage, DADT, discrimination, and the myriad other areas where gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered men and women are held as second-class, as less then or something else. We’re all equal. That’s the end I’m fighting for.
And this fight begins with one simple word: Action.
And my challenge is to take that word and make it more than just a word.
My challenge is to take that word and make it something wonderful.