I have been so down lately, bordering on depressed. Many individuals use this word lightly but I’ve been here once before, and I can assure you, I know the difference between depression and ‘the blues.’ To my defense, in late August, I lost my grandmother who had lived across the street from me for most of my life. I have not been right since. Being far away from my family in a place where Jo and I cannot be a real couple has increased the emotions.
I believe in the power of positive thinking and I am very aware that my writing has been a stream of negative energy involving a discussion of things we don’t have. I have the love of my life. I have my health. And I am finally putting myself out there as a writer. However, I can’t help but feel invisible. In essence, I am.
I’ve been swimming against the current for weeks but have had my head above water until the events of last weekend. I wasn’t overly optimistic about what the President would say at Saturday’s HRC event; however, I suppose I expected more than just the ‘same old, same old.’
I should add the disclaimer: I’m an illegitimate military spouse. No matter what Obama says that may be positive to others, until I have a clear understanding of his timeline regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I will not be happy. Yes, President Obama once again eloquently stated that he would get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He indicated that he is with the gay community in that fight. But President Obama couldn’t begin to understand this fight from the inside. He doesn’t know how Jo and I feel as we begin to discuss future deployment and what that will mean for our family. He doesn’t know what it is like to be invisible.
In regards to the Hate Crimes Bill, President Obama said, “Together we will have moved closer to that day when no one has to be afraid to be gay in America. When no one has to fear walking down the street holding the hand of the person they love.”
Ironically, this is the feeling Jo and I experience each and every day as a gay couple in the military.
Then, last Sunday was National Coming Out Day. Although I should be proud to have an amazing partner that I plan to spend my life with, this year’s Out day was extremely difficult for me. It was my first as a closeted gay American. I had friends texting from the National Equality March in DC saying they missed Jo and I. God, did I miss them too.
According to the National Park Police (NPS), there were approximately 200,000 attendees at the Gay Rights Rally. I sat in my living room, box of tissues in hand, as I watched the coverage, speech-by-speech on CSPAN. David Mixner, Democratic Political Strategist and author, was the first individual to bring on my waterworks.
He pointed out that there are different rights for the LGBT community than the rest of the country. Urging President Obama to lead Congress and not be led by congress, Mixner suggested Obama end the funding for the prosecution of DADT. As Mixner asked how many more tears will be shed until the politicians in some back room decide to join our fight for freedom, I shed more tears of my own.
Believe me, this is not the first time I’ve sat alone while Jo is at work feeling sorry for myself, but watching this rally reminded me of all that we don’t have. How am I supposed to remain positive while there is so much to fight for?
Dan Choi, Army Combat Veteran of the Iraq War who was dismissed under DADT, also spoke at the rally. I am so thankful for this man and his understanding of what we go through. After ripping tape from his mouth, he said something that has been with me all week. I struggled with sharing my depression with all of you, but it is the reality of the situation we are in, so here I am, sharing myself.
Choi said, “You are a slave to the one you love.” Despite this fact, he went on to encourage, “Love is worth fighting for, love is worth it.” He shouted to the group on the mall and into my quiet living room, “I am telling…will you tell with me?”
As much as I want to lie in bed and feel sorry for our community, and myself, I need to stand up and Tell. I need to shake off this negativity and continue my fight. We must break free from this slavery of love.