I Hear I’m Controversial

Sometimes a part of our truth can be right in front of us and we can’t see it. Case in point: I sheepishly confess that I was utterly entirely flabbergasted this morning when a friend of mine said, “Well, you know you’re controversial, Peter.”  It was, I’ve gathered since talking to others since this morning’s conversation, and enduring everyone’s laughter by the way, a rather prominent deer in the headlights moment for me. I instinctively responded by saying, “Why should equal rights be controversial?”

They are.

I asked them why they think I’m controversial. The theme of their answers was the same. You call out people, companies, agencies, government agencies on their actions or lack of actions. You don’t politically walk on eggs. You are deeply sensitive to all minorities and you don’t hesitate to identify those who persecute them, even when you know it is going to cost you. People know if you see people being mistreated you’re going to say it and name names. One person said, You drag things into the light.

Well, if that all makes me controversial then I’m glad I am. I was recently in a meeting where someone I respect a great deal said part of advocacy is about pushing the envelope.

One person said, Some folks hope you’ll just go away.  Those who hope I’ll just go away are those who through action or inaction support things that deny people their rights.

I know of too many people whose support for minorities like people with disabilities, Gays, Lesbians, blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans is cast in lip service and self-aggrandizement. Bad news for these folks. I’m not going away. I can’t. I’m controversial.

Memo to My Gay & Lesbian Brethren

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

The fact Maine voters this week rejected the notion of gay marriage doesn’t just reflect that fact that some have a way to go in realizing people are equal, and being equal means equal rights, and equal rights means people who are Gay and Lesbian have the right to marry. So know, as I suspect you already do, that your extraordinary efforts are not about attaining the right to marry, they are about helping people recognize and accept the right is already there.

We are all prone to seeing the glass as half empty at times and certainly this week’s loss is wrenching. But don’t allow it so much say it robs you of recognizing the wondrous truth that the question of gay marriage was on the ballot!

It is only a matter of time. Equal rights don’t come easy, but they come. So keep on trucking and, for what it’s worth, know that this pen has you backed all the way.