Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What I'm doing this Thanksgiving

Welcome commentary by Trina Olson, Equality California Institute Field Director

Our family is coming for Thanksgiving.

To re-iterate, not just my family, our family. My mom and dad are flying in from Minnesota the day before Thanksgiving. My partner’s mom, little sister, and little sister’s fiancĂ©e are all piling into one car, leaving Arizona Wednesday after dinner, and driving all night through to get to us by Thanksgiving morning.

Did I mention that not only are 5 of our family members coming, they are all staying in our house? I think that means we get the air mattress.

Let me take this opportunity to mention that our families are amazing. That is to say, they consistently show up for us. When my partner had her second foot surgery last year, they came in shifts, taking care of her one week at a time. Whenever I move, (which feels like constantly) they are packing all of the breakables right along side me. Like I said; they show up.

This year the excitement towards Thanksgiving has been building and building. It’s always a landmark moment when, in your mid-20s, you get to host the big holiday gathering. With friends included we’re planning for 13 at the table. Hosting Thanksgiving also comes with a lot of pressure (most of it self-imposed). Will everyone like the menu? Who should we sit next to whom? How on earth do we keep food warm for 13 people using just one oven? But I have to say, despite my partner’s consternation, I like worrying about the little stuff. Because sometimes worrying about the big stuff is too hard.

This Thanksgiving will be a family gathering in every sense. Because my family and friends, well, they show up. Sitting together, with the mashed potatoes on the table and the dessert patiently waiting in the wings, I’m going to thank my family for traveling so far for so long to come be with us. Then I am going to ask our guests to show up for us one more time --- right there at the table, with a captive audience of 12, I’m going to ask them to tell everyone about how it affects them that Ember and I are not free to marry. It may not be the typical Thanksgiving blessing, but I truly believe that it is the most important step we can take together in order to eventually end up at an even bigger family gathering.

One that I have to tell you, I am even more excited to plan!

San Diego Kicks Off Their “Get Engaged by Valentine’s Day!” Campaign

It is an exciting time to be advocating for the freedom to marry in San Diego! This week the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Marriage Equality and Education Project kicked off our “Get Engaged by Valentine’s Day!” campaign. During this campaign our goal is to have 40 Freedom to Marry Engagements by Feb. 14, 2008! These Engagements will introduce San Diegans to Let California Ring, a public education campaign that is working to create a California where two people in a committed, trusting and loving relationship deserve the recognition and respect that only comes with marriage.

This past week we had the pleasure of hosting our first kick-off in a living room that was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm about the freedom to marry. Many wonderful stories were shared over the course of the evening, including two women who had a wedding at the end of September and told us about their special day with tears in their eyes, as well as a mother who spoke passionately about how much she loved her lesbian daughter and wanted her to have an equal chance to fulfill her hopes and dreams.

It was truly a magical night and an amazing start to our campaign! I am looking forward to spending the next few months in living rooms across San Diego hearing more touching stories and connecting with people about this issue.

If you are interested in hosting or attending a San Diego Freedom to Marry Engagement, please contact Kristi Shaw, San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Marriage Equality and Education Project Coordinator at (619) 692-2077, ext. 206 or