This is the second portrait from an ongoing series which focuses on they way gay people in my life feel about marriage and about our rights being stripped away with the passing of Prop 8 in California. Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas also voted down equal rights. This equality issue affects us all.
I have a family by blood which I love, but obviously did not choose. My family of friends which were chosen are just as- if not more- important. I have a band of brothers who I treasure. If I live one more day or 100 more years, the people I'm starting this series with will be with me- next to me for all that time. I started this series with my partner of 13 years and next is my bff Mitch. Those two are my guys.
Mitch and I have been friends since kindergarten which was many, many, many years ago. Each many represents a decade. He's smart, funny, genuine, and loyal. Mitch knows more dirt about me than anyone else and the reverse is true as well. :) What can you say about a best friend? He makes my life better and I hope he'd say they same about me. Mitch has been with his partner for over five years which makes him a perfect candidate for this series. His thoughts in the second part of this posting.
I have to say that this affected me more than I first thought. I've been very lucky so far in this life that I haven't experienced discrimination directly on a personal level. I've had the extremely good fortune of having a wonderful, supportive family, great partner, great friends and work for a company where diversity is celebrated--not just tolerated. I think it may have created a bit of a bubble that I live in. The passing of Prop 8 was a slap in the face and a big reality check. There is a large portion of the population of this country that is afraid of what they do not understand and cling too strongly to their unfortunate interpretation of the Bible. I'm saddened and furious at this prospect. The fact that this was made a religious issue and directly supported by a religious body (the Mormon Church) that has been persecuted from their beginnings boggles my mind. The fact that other groups that have been targets of ignorance and rampant discrimination over the last several decades overwhelmingly supported this--how could that happen? When was the last time a church issued a marriage license? Why would those that have been discriminated against choose to impose that on another group? Why do they care? How does it affect them? The sanctity of marriage? Let me ask Brittney Spears or Pamela Anderson about that concept. We cannot stand for this type of intolerance or bigotry. I'm so excited about the election of our first ever black president, but on the same day, three states voted to amend their constitutions to prohibit same sex marriage--building discrimination and the removal of rights for an entire class of people. How is that possible in a supposedly forward thinking country that was founded on religious freedoms and the idea that all are welcome? We have a long way to go. I look forward to the day that I can stand with my partner of more than five years and legally wed. I hope that time will come. We need to get active and not let this hateful, despicable proposition be the end of the discussion.
Thank you Mitch. You make me proud!
Portrait of my bff done with watercolor and ink on 9" x 12" hot press watercolor paper. 30 + years of friendship included.