On Saturday "P" and I attended the annual Atlanta HRC Dinner and Silent Auction.
I should've warned you about "P." You see he was horribly disfigured in a tragic blurring accident, but he bravely carries on! Actually, he doesn't know about my blog and I just don't think it's right to attach his face to it yet. PLUS he might not want to be seen with what appears to be an enormous flabby double chin on yours truly! That's us just before heading out to the event. I thought a tux made everyone look like Daniel Craig:
Not so much apparently. Would you believe that he and I are only weeks apart in age? Fucker.
OK... where was I? Oh yeah, the dinner. It was very cool. Some great speakers, including the keynote address from Eric Alva the first American soldier wounded in the war in Iraq. Now out in every sense of the word and speaking out against many issues, but mostly "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Everyone was so funny and smart. Halfway through the dinner I was all fired up and ready to march on down to my local HRC office and volunteer for just about anything! I had had several vodka and tonics by then however, so my sudden philanthropic feelings MAY have been influenced a little.
There is really something to be said for being in a room full of gay people. The conversation is witty, the hair is perfect, the drinks are stiff. It's also just neat to be able to completely relax. I live a very open life, out at work, to all my family, all my friends... and I've had almost ZERO negative reactions. I feel very lucky for that. But at a ball game, or in a McDonald's, at the mall... just places where straight couples kiss and hold hands freely there is still a little uncomfortableness. Holding hands with my boyfriend while waiting in line for the Georgia Scorcher at 6 Flags feels less like affection and more like activism to me. At an event like the HRC Dinner though... it's completely reversed... it's amazing and SO FREEING!
In 2000 I attended the "March on Washington" with my then boyfriend "O." I was still fairly newly out... only a couple years... and it was so amazing to be surrounded by so many other people LIKE ME! It's one thing to be at a gay bar, where yeah, everyone is a poofter, but you are to some effect quarantined in the bar... together but separate. It is something all together different to be out in the streets of Washington D.C. with a bazillion other same sex couples ALL holding hands. After the march there was a concert at RFK Stadium. UNBELIEVABLE. A STADIUM full of gays and lesbians and everything in between AND their supporters. To this day I have never heard from ANY crowd a roar so loud as when (after Mellisa Etheridge sang with the Pet Shop Boys) Ellen DeGeneres walked out onto that stage. I could have cried, I may have.
I've been a member of the HRC ever since.
Anyway, events like that, and events like the HRC Dinner really remind me how happy I am my life worked out the way it has. Reminds me too that I'm part of a supportive, funny, brave, endlessly talented and creative community.