Sunday, 10 January 2010

You know a gay

A new but very welcome addition to the 100 day camp is Andrew Phifer who, from the first of January, has been coming out to one person a day. In his own words:

Easily, one of the most important and rewarding events of my life thus far was telling my friends and family that I am gay. In the years since, I have become increasingly more active in the LGBT community, recently attending the National Equality March in Washington DC. At that rally at the foot of the Capitol and others I have attended, it has been repeated that in order to create change, you have to tell people you’re gay. Friends, family, coworkers. You have to let them know that they know someone who is gay. You have to put a face on who the inequality is hurting… Therefore, for my Hundred Days project, I will tell one person daily that they know someone who is gay – me.

I love that this is a project that not only benefits the participant but also goes towards making the world that bit nicer and more open for the rest of us (something my angsty creative writing is never going to achieve).

Now it's going to be pretty hard to plagiarise this pledge. Contrary to what my family assumed I am straight. Although it was utterly lovely that my mother and sister both (seperately!) told me that if I was gay it made no difference and they still loved me, sadly I'm not gay, I'm just a bit rubbish with men!

So not being able to come out to friends and acquaintances I thought I'd just share some videos with you. I expect I'm probably preaching to the converted here but I will do my best to publicise this blog so as many people as possible see, and hopefully share, these brilliant videos.

The first I actually found on Jason Mraz's blog. It's the most brilliant speech I think I've heard in a long time. Inspirational stuff.

The next two videos about the fight for marriage equality in Maine are by New Left Media (I strongly recommend you check out their other stuff too). I was a high school exchange student in Maine for 5 months in 2003. It's a great state and I made some amazing friends there. I was however, shocked by the level of homophobia I found there. Two of my best friends had come out to me just before I left the UK and then in my first few days in Maine friends of the family I was staying with, and the pastor of the church I was obliged to attend, made some of the most horrible homophobic statements I had ever been exposed to. I knew there were some people who thought like that in England but I'd never been in a place where it was acceptable to express those sentiments freely. Fortunately there are also incredible, sensible, rational and loving individuals in that state too. Mr Baldwin, my English teacher, and I were involved in my high schools first Gay-Straight Alliance. He is the man in the videos wearing glasses who is interviewed before and after the results are announced. Unfortunately seven years later Maine still isn't as tolerant as we'd hope but it's getting there.

I'd like to thank Mr Baldwin and all of the others involved for their dedication and passion.

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