Panti said that she got through an entire day without checking herself, and that she does not feel oppressed.
A couple of friends of mine walked to the local shop together. A man approached them shook their hands, and told them to never stop holding hands.
Another friend talked about all the same-sex couples she saw holding hands, embracing, being unapologetically together on our streets and in our parks.
And I walk down the street alone with a Yes badge on my shirt- I can’t bear to take it off yet. It’s met on every street with infectious, unstoppable smiles. Moments of overjoyed connection with strangers- and not just the strangers we’ve been led to expect. The buttoned-up, the middle-aged, the most conservative appearing of us can’t help but break into grins when we see each other.
This is about marriage, but this is about so much more. This was about changing a society, and it was about letting everyone in that society know how it had changed.
This campaign was hard. It was cruel at times. The helpless frustration of seeing signs on every street telling you that you are unfit, inadequate, should be happy to put up with less. Hearing unashamed bigotry dressed up as genuine concerns in a cowardly media. Feeling the weight of money and influence wielded by people who hate us so much that they threw everything they had into keeping us down. Hearing stories of kids of same sex couples, of adopted kids, of kids of single parents seeing those same posters telling them that their families weren’t enough, and feeling helpless to do anything about it.
The campaign was cruel, and it was an unnecessary cruelty.
But- and here is the beautiful thing- the campaign was also kind. We didn’t just fight. We cared for each other. We knew that we could only win by sharing some of the most vulnerable parts of ourselves with strangers, and by being judged for those. So we did. On doorsteps and streets and online and in newspapers and even on TV we shared our stories, our families, our lives and our fears, in the hope that they would find a spark or humanity and empathy in people who had never met us. And it did. Continue reading “Never Stop Holding Hands: how love took on a monster, and won.”