Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out of the closet for all

A friend suggested that I pass along this story and she was right. From the Atlantic:

The southwest Minneapolis suburbs of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie bring to mind Garrison Keillor's tales from Lake Wobegon: They're lined with well-maintained homes and tree-lined roundabouts, and home to residents of largely German and Scandinavian ancestry. But the ladies of these towns have quietly begun a revolt -- one fought with rainbow flags and a Minnesota nice attitude.

The women, mostly in their 40s and 50s, come from different political parties, religious views, and backgrounds, but they've united to fight what many of them call an embarrassment to Minnesota: a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage that will appear on the ballot this November.

… It started with Gwin Pratt, a senior pastor at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, which has a long history of advocating for gay rights. After the Minnesota State Legislature voted to include the amendment on the ballot, the congregation began an outreach plan to to oppose it. Cindy Eyden, a member of St. Luke, suggested buying rainbow flags in bulk and distributing them to anyone in the community who was interested. What she didn't know was that her idea would go viral.

Maureen Henderson, a fellow St. Luke congregant, was quick to follow Eyden's lead. "They were selling these rainbow flags, only $2.50 for this full size, beautiful flag, and I looked at it, and bought a whole bunch of flags." Henderson told herself "I'm going to go home to my neighborhood, and see, in our community, if one by one we can hand them out and then together start to address this issue."

So off Henderson went to her home in Eden Prairie, a suburb of 60,000 filled with white-collar professionals, 94 percent of whom are Caucasian. That afternoon, she started going door to door with flags in hand. She was quickly joined by her neighbor Wendy Ivins. They took the picture-perfect neighborhood by storm, engaging their neighbors in respectful conversations. Soon, more and more rainbow flags began to appear in the sleepy cul de sacs, planted on large lots and hanging from wood porches. …

This is happening right next to homophobic Congresswoman Michelle Bachman's turf, but these women are changing minds. Supporters of gay rights are learning that they are not alone. The few gay couples are finding new friends. People who've never thought much about gay people at all are learning that some of their neighbors have thought deeply and decided that all people deserve full and equal legal rights.

A campaign like this gives all who take it up the joy of coming out of dark closets of repression and fear of difference. It's a grand thing that we queers get to share our liberation like this. Yeah for these Minnesota moms!

1 comment:

Ronni Gilboa said...

Reminds me of the WWII event when the King of Norway wore a yellow Jewish star to tell the Nazi's that we all are Jewish.

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