The band was belting out Queen’s Under Pressure. I was standing—no, make that rocking hard with fist jabbing—at Ecolab Plaza in Saint Paul taking in the other four or five thousand celebrants two hours after Governor Dayton made GLBT marriage legal.
I had biked from downtown Minneapolis to avoid traffic and to get some exercise. Black and pink sweaty spandex covered me, but no one cared.
In between fist jabs, I looked out over the crowd. I saw square-shaped dykes kissing, wispy tee-shirted men hand-holding, cute twenty-something lesbians giggling, and an old guy—maybe seventy at least—waving a rainbow flag.
The mood was ecstatic, the scene historic. And the memory, unforgettable.
Then it hit me.
This is my tribe.
One of my life goals (ah, that would be in my life as Ellie Krug) is to connect humanity, what I call “human to human contact.” I believe that when we understand how much we have in common, great things will happen.
Like marriage equality.
When I was a dude, I resided in an entirely different world. It was white, straight, fairly Republican (gasp), and regimented. At cocktail hour with those people, the subject de jour might be the latest addition to the country club’s menu or that wonderful secret getaway in Wine Country.
That was one BMW and three Jeep Cherokees ago.
I now drive a Honda.
“Those people” (isn’t it quite nice to see the phrase turned around?) never ignited me.
On the other hand, who can’t get excited by purple hair? Or full body tattoos? Or six visible piercings?
Now that’s my people.
And cute gay boys? Oh my god. Talk about honesty, sexuality, and style. Not to mention a couple of men who’d walk over flaming coals to rescue me.
They, too, are my people.
How did I defect? Why did I give up the straight majority?
For one, I had no choice. For two, I was never straight.
I just lied. To myself. To my soul mate. To the world.
And what do I think of GLBT people as a whole?
We are the most human people I know. When I speak to GLBT groups, my standard opening line is, “I’ve come home.”
That’s because we really are “family.”
Many of us have one thing in common—we’ve struggled with identity and accepting who we are. We’ve disappointed others, lost people, and had moments where the nothingness of death seemed like a viable alternative.
In other words, we’re survivors.
I like that about us. I cherish the bond. We are one for all and that other mucky emotional stuff we crave as human beings.
So back to Ecolab Plaza on Marriage Equality Day.
The rock music echoed across several blocks, making my ears ache and my spirit soar. As the sun began to pinch the horizon, I headed home.
I rode past the Cathedral of Saint Paul and wondered how the Bishop felt on that historic day, one that the Catholic Church inadvertently engineered by pushing for the anti-marriage amendment last year.
How ironic. And how incredibly sweet such irony tastes.
I pumped and glided all the way home—down Marshall Ave, over the Lake Street Bridge, and along West River Parkway until I crested the hill just south of the Guthrie Theatre.
That’s when I saw them.
The Guthrie’s smokestacks ordinarily display titles of current productions. On this night, however, GLBT rainbow colors pulsated in lieu of play titles.
It was enough to make me stop for a celebratory glass of Chardonnay. As I waited for an outside table at Sea Change, I told the manager about riding back from the marriage celebration in Saint Paul. I explained. “I only stopped because of the rainbows—they’re so beautiful.”
“Yes, it’s a great day,” the manager, a man named Santi, answered. He was well dressed, polished, and very friendly. “I wished I could have gone,” he said.
Then he added, “I’m going to buy you that glass of wine.”
Just then I realized it was as written above—human to human contact in action. Sometimes it gets you marriage rights. Other times, it gets you a free glass of wine.
I took my wine outside and watched the sun disappear, feeling incredible peace and a wonderful sense of community.
Most of all, I felt at home.
Ellie Krug is the author of Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change. She welcomes your comments at [email protected]