I have tried my absolute hardest to not bring religion, politics, or Boy Bands into this blog, as I do not want to isolate any of my audience. But, sometimes things happen, and I refuse to stay silent.
Every generation has their question. Where were you when you heard about JFK? What
were you doing when the Berlin Wall fell? Who were you talking to when the
Where were you and who were you with when DOMA died and Proposition 8 choked?
In a week where there were more sad panda moments than happy llama moments (and
one very stressed wallaby), DOMA's death served as an excellent reminder of the
proverbial silver lining.
After a dinner at a microbrewery near Gwangalli beach, my friends and I snagged
a beer and settled in the sand for conversations steeped in salt water. I
checked the time on my phone, and it buzzed with breaking news from The
Washington Post concerning DOMA. The link didn't open and all I read before the
screen went blank was 'Superme Court Ruling on DOMA is...' I speedy thumbed my
way to the BBC news site and got very quiet.
Quiet Katie can mean one of two things: I am so happy that I have no words, or
I am so angry that I cannot even engage in conversation. Without acknowledging
the fact that M was in the middle of a story, I whispered, "Hey, guys. I
can get married. To whomever I want. DOMA is gone."
My friends had the response I should have had. M screamed a scream that only
the oppressed have known. An unadulterated sound of humanity finally getting
their shit together. She folded me in a hug, "Yes! We can get married! Not
to each other, though. That would be weird."
Immediately, I checked Facebook to send a message to the most amazing man I
know, T. He helped me and so many others in their coming out process. He had
already posted, and I made sure that he knew how important he is to me and our
I put my phone away again, and spent some time being an introvert. The Diamond
Bridge's lights slinked through the hazy clouds. Thoughts slid through my mind,
some good, some bad, most apathetic. I went to bed that night as an equal in
the eyes of American law.
Now, I am just a kid with an oversized ego, writing as if I know everything
there is to know. I mean, I was a literature major with a minor in pretension
With that being said, I will continue pompously shouting from my soap box.
I would have given anything to have been in Minneapolis, Boston, New York when
this news broke. But, I wasn't. I was here, in South Korea, where oppression
based on sexual orientation still happens. The dichotomy of "pants vs.
pumps" lesbians consistently astounds me. You can be masculine or
feminine, but never, ever both. But, I am neither pants nor pumps. I claim
androgyny. I identify my sexuality as something more than boat shoes or
mini-skirts. I love whom I love based on many things other than gender and
Because of that, I feel a need to be present in the gay community here. There
are thousands of people here repressing a very central part of their identity
because they were taught it isn't right. There are thousands others living a
secret life, sequestered from main stream society. I want to show this community
that it is okay to love whomever you want. I understand that I am more liberal
than not, and the rules of the west are very different from the rules of the
east. I respect it. But, there is a very severe need for change. In terms
of sexual equality, South Korea is about where the States were in the fifties.
However, they progress with a remarkable rate.
I want to be a part of this progression. I want to spread my idealism, my hope,
my passion for equity. I want to tell my student who wrote a pro-gay marriage newspaper
article that I am proud of her, and that she is so brave to address this in
such a public forum. Instead, I have to check grammar and leave my ideas of
subject matter out.
I want to be a part of something bigger. I wasn't able to be this voice of
equality while a leader in my college. I was too afraid being gay would
taint my image, my job security, my life that I had created. I cannot
begin to write about how influential T was in the LGBT community at St. Norbert
College. He is a hero and paved the way for so many young men and women.
Lucky me, I get a redo- a chance to show people (foreigners and Koreans
alike) that there is nothing inherently wrong with gay people. That being gay
is just a facet of who I am. I am a better teacher, daughter, sister, friend, writer
than a lesbian. I mean, I just started
watching 'The L Word' for goodness sake. Stereotype? Too soon?
At any rate, I am not so naïve to think that the death of DOMA is the 'be all
end all' of orientation discrimination. It doesn't abolish the crimes still
happening against gay men and women around the world. It really just protect same-sex couples already married in states where it is legal. However, it is a huge,
giant leap for America to recognize the legality of same-sex marriage. I do not
need a piece of paper to legitimize my love for another human. But, I do want
to hold my lover's hand while we watch our children graduate high school, while
they marry the loves of their lives, and- in the final moments- in a hospital
promising her that everything was perfect, and I will see her real soon.
Steps down from soap box, dusts off vest, re-velcros Tevas, and leaves you to