Jun 28, 2015

We are the Champions!

Seattle must go totally crazy today!! 88°F (31°C) and the yearly Pride Parade happening two days after the U.S. allowing same-sex marriage, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision! Oh how I wish I was there on this historic day, but Trouble 1 and Fay are, representing the family!

In 2012 Washington State voters approved same-sex marriage, and the number of states following had climbed to 37 before Friday’s ruling which made U.S the 21st and most populous country to legalize marriage between same sexes.  And the world (at least that’s what we like to think) is celebrating!

For as long as I have known Seattle, the city has been identified as gay friendly, and liberal in that sense. A safe place for people who aren’t shaped for the square box family that’s the norm, at least inside the city borders. Seattle is also run by a gay mayor, Ed Murray.

“ - Grab your water bottles and your parasols and join us tomorrow for the Pride Parade! It promises to be an extra special celebration, and we'll be proudly marching. Hope to see you there!”

It’s the Seattle Men’s Chorus on Facebook inviting everyone to join them today. And yesterday they, as well as Seattle Women’s Chorus, were invited by mayor Ed Murray,  to sing at the Marriage Equality celebration rally at the federal courthouse in Seattle. What they sang? We are the Champions!

Somewhere around the Millennium I made a TV documentary piece on choirs, and Seattle was represented by Seattle Men’s Chorus. At that time there were about 250 singers in the choir, all gay. For me, meeting SMC was very special. A choral singer myself I know that every choir has it’s conflicts, as every community, but SMC totally embraced me, as they seemed to embrace each other.

SMC was too big to be a family. It was a village. A community of 250 they didn’t all know each other. But it was their village. It became clear to me that in a relatively safe city as Seattle, Seattle Men’s Choir was singled out as a place without fear.

I got to know Craig who became a good friend of mine. I was invited to his home which was a very special place. Together with seven other men he had bought a house with eight apartments. They were all gay and had their own place within the house. To me, it seemed obvious although I might have read too much into it, so I had to ask Craig the question: “so, is this your safe haven. The eight of you?” He looked at me, surprised. Paused. Nodding slowly. “Perhaps it is”. 

Historians date the modern gay-rights movement to 1969, when patrons of the New York gay bar Stonewall Inn fought back against police harassment. In recent years, the momentum for approval of same-sex marriage has escalated. But the court ruling doesn’t end homophobia. Discrimination lingers in areas such as parental rights for example. Suicide rates continue to be elevated among young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. Harassment and bullying are still real. And coming out can still be difficult.

Let’s hope though that the law for same-sex marriages in the most populous country will make a real difference, not only to the U.S but to the world. And I picture the Pride Parade triumphing through a hot downtown today, and let’s all join them: We are the Champions, we are the Champions!

No comments:

Post a Comment