Dear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.;
I write you today to tell you of your dream. Your dream, your vision is close at hand. Today was the inauguration of the second term of an African American President. Today we have overcome so many of the obsticles facing the people of your day. Without you to rally together the masses of the downtrodden, our world would be so much different. As we steam forward we do it with one eye on our past. We will never forget the blood, sweat, and tears spilled for our rights. We can never forget the vision of President Abrahm Lincoln and his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. His desire for every American to enjoy the same freedoms equally. As you said “There are those who ask the devotees of civil rights “when will you be satisfied?” I share my answer with you but with a different pair of eyes “We will never be satified” You see Dr. King, you and I share this dream, this desire for pure equality, I say, we will not be satisfied until every man, women and child is protected under the law no matter their sexual preferance, color or nationality. We will not be satisfied until every american can enjoy the 15,000 rights that are enacted when a couple is married. We will not be satisfied until the darkness of discrimintaion is illuminated by the light of acceptance and understanding. Dr. King I have a dream that a child with two dads or two moms will be united under the banner of the word family. I have a dream where people are not pulled from their cars or houses and beaten or murdered because others fear their differences. I have a dream that these words said by the President that was inaugurated on this very day will be accomplished. “our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truely created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” President Obama. As we will never forget those who gave their lives, pride and blood to gain civil rights may also we never forget those who have died, been beaten or took their own lives in the fight to gain equal rights. Dr. King may we move forward together, may we push through these last barriers of discrimintation. It is as you said “when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, (Gay and straight) will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Thank you Dr. King for your Dream, for your vision and for your life.
Matthew Haws and Trent Lake
Perfection… One short, well know, and unattainable word. We, as humans, desire to achieve this in every aspect of our lives, and unavoidably fall short. The truth of the matter is “Perfection” at least the way we think about it is unattainable. So if we can’t be perfect we hope to project perfection. Put on a facade of unblemished, serene perfection. As gay people we do not fit within the brackets of acceptable or normal perfection. We basically carry a sign over our head that says “We Are Not Perfect” and for the most part we don’t care. If you are not being honest and true with yourself then who are you being honest and true too? When we are finally able to face this truth about ourselves the obligatory facade crumbles and you are left standing naked for the world to see. Your flaws (as some would see them) are left uncovered and stinging in the the open air. Though painful and scary this experience is also empowering. The feeling of throwing off the burden of fitting in and being who you are is indescribable. This is an experience every gay person has been through. There is an unspoken bond between us, this bond is understanding. We try to help and support one another. This unspoken bond is what makes us a community. However this pain and fear of the braking the “Perfect” projection is not limited to the gay community. It is part of the human experience. If you have eyes to read this or ears to hear it then you too have felt this pain and fear. Fear of not fitting in, the pain of rejection. I may not know or be able to understand your particular battle, but are we not obligated to help one another, to respect one another, and to “love one another?” I have learned to accept others for who they are. How can I judge someone when I am dragging my own (very stylish) baggage? How can you judge me (with my very public baggage) when you yourself are struggling to hide yours. Rather then judging others imperfections, lets stand join arms are move forward supporting one another, and maybe if we work together, we can pull all this freaking baggage across the finish line.
It was June of this past year, Trent and I were with some friends on our way to the annual pride parade in downtown SLC. I had heard rumors of a group that was planning to lead the parade that year. This was a group of members of the LDS church (Mormons Building Bridges) a church that most of us were raised in. This had not been the best year in LGBT and LDS relations, and the thought of such a group leading the parade made me feel a bit anxious. I wasn’t sure how the onlookers would react to the new group. I knew I would treat them with respect and graciously accept what they were “trying” to do. We got to the corner of main and 3rd East. I looked up and down the street in awe. There were thousands of brightly dressed people. People on the sidewalk, people looking from windows, and people on the tops of buildings… It was a beautiful sight. The feeling in the air was electric. These were all people like me, people who had been through the ringer like I had. It was time for the parade to start, the police motorcycles were clearing the route. A nervous feeling took root in my stomach as I saw the group a few blocks away. I watched carefully as they made there way up the street. As they got closer I began to read their signs and see the tears on their faces. There was an elderly lady being pushed in a wheel chair holding a sign that read “God made you this way, and I love you” she had tears running down her face. As they passed a huge cheer rose up from the crowed (a roar that would rival any BYU-UT game) the tears fell from my eyes as I began to clap and cheer as well. In that moment there was no judgement, no separation, no us and them. We were united. The difference in belief, political history, and inability to understand one another were forgotten. I felt like this moment was great, history being made. This deserved to be next to Martin Luthers “I Have Dream” speech, or Ronald Ragan “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” in the history books. I knew this feeling, this moment was going to bring about true and irrevocable equality. The ability of people at opposite ends of the spectrum to see that we are, maybe, not so different after all.
The parade past and time went on. The pollution of the media and other influences seeped in, and yet that fire that was ignited that day still burns within me, as it burns within everyone that was lucky enough to witness it.