Culture / Entertainment / News & Politics

Different realities, same love

I left Tirana, Albania, in a bit of a whirlwind for an emergency trip home I hadn’t planned.  I said goodbye to nobody.  Sitting home, in the relative safety of the U.S., I didn’t mention I was gone.

A friend posted on my Facebook wall about the protests surrounding Montenegro’s first Gay Pride parade.  The parade of a couple dozen people (two of whom I know as activists in Albania) was met with hurled objects (including rocks and glass bottles) as well as shouts of “death to homosexuals.”  And yet the parade marched on.  Facing escalating violence, the marchers were shepherded away by boat to safety.  In their defense, the Montenegrin police kept the marchers safe.

I thought of my friend who posted the news of Montenegro Pride on my wall. I thought of his partner, a soft-spoken, beautiful individual filled with a strength and courage that I perhaps will never know.  I imagine the family they are creating together and my heart wept.  It feared what could have happened.  It longed for what should be.

~~~

I was driving in my car when first heard the song “Same Love,” from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  Perhaps I am behind and everyone in the West has heard it, knows the lyrics, and has the chorus stuck in their heads (it came out in July 2012,  the video below in October 2012).  But, my gosh, did this open the flood gates.  Sitting in my mom’s car, in my home state, a state that not so long ago defined marriage as between one woman and one man, I heard the words:

When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love

And my eyes welled again with tears.  Lucky that I was at a stop light because I honestly couldn’t see.  Between the blurry tears and the cold memories, visions passed through my head: a gay teen committing suicide, Edie Windsor on the SCOTUS steps, and my friends in Montenegro being pelted with rocks.

I am constantly amazed at how far we have come in this country (referring here to the U.S.), just as I am constantly amazed at how far we have left to go.  But now, right now, and in that moment, I would do anything to hear this song on the radio in the Balkans.

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3 Comments

  1. I hadn’t heard this song until fairly recently and the very first time, I bawled! SO glad for all the advances in the last few months! Yes, there is more work to be done but I am certainly more hopeful than ever and more thankful than ever to be here… Thank you for sharing.

  2. That song is probably one of the most played on my playlist, and like you the first time I heard it I bawled. Luckily, now it mostly just makes me smile unless I’ve been having a particularly emotional day already.

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