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My Letter to Senator Grisanti
cap, captain miss america
For those of you who are unaware (perhaps you live in another state), the NYS Assembly passed a Marriage Equality bill for the FOURTH time. The Senate keeps voting it down. It's incredibly distressing and demoralizing. Anyway, this time, it looks like the vote will be very close, and potentially hinge on one Senator, Senator Mark Grisanti. Here's a link to his website.

If any of you can spare a moment to write to him today, I would sure appreciate it, and so would lots of other New Yorkers. Here's the letter I just sent him.

Dear Senator Grisanti,

I'm not one of your constituents, but my mom grew up in Buffalo, and I was hoping you would take the time to listen to a fellow Catholic and a fellow New Yorker on the important issue of marriage equality for GLBT New Yorkers.

When I was thirteen, I was working hard to finish my community service hours required by my parish to receive my Confirmation. I picked the name Victoria, after my grandmother's youngest aunt, who was still alive and a great inspiration to me.

It was also the first time I had a crush on a girl.

I remember, at that young and confusing age, laying awake at night praying for it to go away. My parents were loving and openminded people who would never have judged someone for being gay, but that didn't stop me from feeling the pervasive feeling that it was wrong, or that something was wrong with me. I remember praying to God that I didn't want to be a lesbian, because to my thirteen-year-old mind, it was freaky and terrible, and when you're thirteen, all you want is to be normal and like all the other kids. I didn't want there to be one more thing that was different about me.

But I couldn't help it. No matter how much I tried to squash the kinds of feelings I felt toward other girls, I kept having them. Of course, I liked boys, too, and I tried to concentrate on that, because at least that was normal. At least I could talk to other girls about it without them singling me out for ridicule or deciding that there was something strange or unnatural about me.

The secret I carried ruined my best high school friendship, because I was afraid to tell my friend that I was in love with her. Maybe she would have understood, but maybe it would have made things even worse-- I'll never know.

I'm an adult now, and much more comfortable with who I am. But one thing I am not comfortable with is the fact that if the person I choose to spend the rest of my life with is a woman, I won't be able to marry her. I've made peace with the fact that I may not be able to marry her in a church, but I believe fervently that God made me who I am, and makes each of us with the capacity to love that He wishes for us. I can't help but believe that that is not what God would want for me-- that I would have to make such a difficult choice just to spend my life with someone I love. And I hope I might appeal to you as a parent when I say that I have to consider the fact that my parents would miss out on seeing their only daughter get married. My father would miss out on dancing with me at my wedding. And I would not wish that on any father, or any parents, that a law would stand in the way of their opportunity to celebrate the joy of their child's marriage.

Thank you so much for your time. I sincerely hope you will consider this matter with an open heart and an eye to the future. I may not be able to vote for you, but I have friends in your district, and if you make this brave decision, I will absolutely do whatever I can to help support you.


Tea Fougner.

Senator Grisanti's email address is grisanti@nysenate.gov

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i do not have the same experiences, but what you wrote is beautiful. i do have solidarity on the matter at hand because i'm not an idiot, for the record.

Wait, you're not? :-P

<3 thanks, it means a lot to me.

It's such an obvious thing to me, and except in the occasion that I desire companionship with someone, I couldn't care less who anyone pairs off with. I know I ended a sentence with a preposition.

I don't think people often get the joke I make when I say "it's the 90's right?" It's really all about this sentiment I have, that is, c'mon man, didn't we get over this horseshit a decade ago? Whether it's accepting credit cards or who gets married to whom, or not drinking terrible cocktails, I don't care. It's all something that we should only be seeing in the rearview mirror, if we deign to look at it at all.

I was just caught up dreaming further rants on these matters, but I think it healthier to go back to listening to this Jane's Addiction album. The real point here is that what you wrote was beautiful and touched me. Props.

Right, precisely, and if you're talking about a person who prefers the gender that you are not, it doesn't much matter HOW much you care about whom they pair off with, because they're not going to turn around and be interested in you anyway.

And yeah. I feel incredibly outraged that I live where I live when I live here and this is still an issue. I will also write to my senators about this drinking terrible cocktails bill.

Believe me, I have a lot more rants on the matter, too. But thank you once again. It was really, really hard to write (especially at work on my lunch hour, trying not to tear up), so it's a wonderful thing to hear.

I hope you all in New York can get that bill passed. It gives those of us in other states with bans already on the books hope that we can get them overturned every time another state passes theirs.

It is a travesty that it is not passed here yet.

More importantly, we need to get rid of DOMA, so that states that practice marriage equality can allow their same-sex couples to actually BE equals. I found out recently that if a same-sex couple gets married in a state that permits same-sex marriages, and one of them is not a citizen, just the act of getting married could get their green card or visa revoked on account of DOMA. That one really pisses me off.

This is an excellent letter. <3

My new favorite NYS politician is Roy McDonald, the republican whose public statement after he supported the bill was "Fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing."

Thank you for sending this letter, and for sharing it. I think it is really powerful. You share what it was like to go through things most people experience, that most people can relate to, but with the feeling that what you were experiencing was somehow abnormal. A person who can imagine, even just a little, how awful that must be should understand how wrong and harmful it is to discriminate against people because of who they love.

I just remember being really scared that something was wrong with me. I knew one gay couple, and I didn't actually know any gay women who were out. I knew what lesbians were, but they were something you saw on TV, and something people made jokes about, not something ordinary people were supposed to be.

I just think that anyone with children who would vote against same-sex marriage is practicing very little foresight, or thinks the way I did when I was a kid-- that being gay is something for other people. That no one you really know is gay, that your loved ones can't possibly be gay. That you couldn't possibly be preventing your own child from celebrating their wedding someday.

Your point about people with children is excellent. I think "Don't you want to go to your son or daughter's wedding?" is a good argument because it appeals to people who care about family and tradition and might worry that if their child were gay, they would be excluded from this. And of course the answer is, no, not if we give everyone equal rights to marry and have a family if they choose.

I definitely thought being gay was for other people as a kid. I thought I didn't know any gay people. This was not the case, and I have no idea why my mother didn't explain to me that "Aunt Joan and her roommate Ann" were really a couple until I was a teenager; we visited them pretty frequently and it would have helped a lot in countering the influence of my friends who had learned to be homophobic from their parents.

I've voted against Defense of Marriage Acts once in California, once in Kentucky, and against Prop. 8 again in California. I don't see equality happening until the generations who, for reasons even they can't explain, want to leave marriage for heteros die out. Lovely letter though.

or thinks the way I did when I was a kid-- that being gay is something for other people. That no one you really know is gay, that your loved ones can't possibly be gay.
My parents right there. It's ok for other people to be gay, but there would be hell to pay if it were me. On the upside, their denial would allow a girl to sleep in my room.

Thanks. I just...it's New York. I like to think that New York can do this, because, well, I'm a New Yorker and we're arrogant like this. I suppose I can get married in CT if it comes to that. I am feeling like even if I end up with a guy, I will only get married in a state that allows same-sex marriage. Because that is a little way to show my support.

I have a cousin who got away with murder because of the denial. Or, you know, by murder, I mean she got to make out with her girlfriend all. the. time.

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