Never in this moment, have I been more proud to be an American.
You know, America has it's fair share of problems and in a lot of ways, I decided to move away from America to the UK because of these problems. Expensive health-care, aggressive capitalism, poor quality of life (ie: only 2 weeks of vacation per year), poor outlook on the international community, George Bush and most importantly – unequal rights for the GLBT community. I've always felt like an outsider in my own country. Whenever I go back to my own country after being absent for 11 years, I still feel like a stranger sometimes.
However having learned that the state of New York has now passed gay marriage, this news makes me proud to be an American. Just when I had given up hope that America would never change, the people of New York have banded together to create change in their state and further the fight against inequality. I've spent most of the last 24 hours watching YouTube videos on the subject and rejoicing in the reactions of my gay and lesbian sisters and unfortunately still shaking my head in disbelief that homophobic people like this STILL exist.
Although I can stay in the UK indefinitely and I myself will have been gay married to my partner Geri for two years this September, I now feel it would be ok for me to move back to America if I wanted to – because as of now, I have always said I would never return to America.
It's nice to know that America has changed and I know now that it won't be long before the West Coast states where I grew up like California, Washington and my home state of Oregon follow suit.
I feel a big reason for this change is due to the major music and entertainment icons and television shows who have pushed valiantly for this change – like Lady Gaga and Glee for example. These entertainment brands never censored themselves and although it may sound stupid, these forms of entertainment, along with every gay person like you and me who have campaigned for equality have changed the perception of how straight people view gay people. We've moved away from being viewed as a stereotype to that of being a human being – deserving of the same rights as other minorities who have fought and won their basic human rights.
I laugh at America sometimes. It's supposed to be "the land of the free" but until just now, I have never felt truly free in America. I know that now, at least in Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and now New York, I can be a free American and it won't be long before the other 39 states follow New York's lead. Optimistic? HELL YES.
I may be an American living in the UK, but nevertheless, I'm most certainly a proud one today. Congratulations to the citizens of New York for evoking change and pushing for equality.
California, you're next.