If you don't already know, today marks the day DOMA was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States. This means marriage will no longer be defined as being "between one man and one woman" at the federal level. The doors are opening for LGBT couples across the nation thanks to today.
Let's take a step back and understand why this is so vitally important.
I grew up in a world where everyone and everything around me said I was to some day meet a beautiful woman with whom I would fall head over heels in love, marry, and have children. That was the basics. If nothing else in my life went right, but I was still able to have a loving marriage with a woman and children, I would always be happy.
Unfortunately for me, I realized early on that that was something that may never happen for me. I didn't understand how and why boys felt the way they did about girls. The future for me did not see me with a woman, it had this black hole that I didn't understand how to fill. I would listen to what other boys said about girls and regurgitate their words when talking with other classmates, friends, and even family- all so I could make myself sound as "normal" as possible. I even dated a few of my best friends to avoid being called a "faggot" and attempt to understand what the other guys were feeling.
As time went on, I've learned that that black hole I saw in my future was simply an element of myself I didn't understand. The black hole was a space of mystery, a part of me that I could not come to terms with at such a young age. It was my attraction to other men.
My journey to where I am today (a happy, proud, successful, head-over-heels in love gay man) was not easy. I spent years trying to ignore certain thoughts, feelings, and urges. I made sure I was constantly involved in leadership positions, school, volunteer projects, work- anything that could keep me from being able to think about myself. I felt depressed, worthless, broken; I felt like an outcast. There was no one I could look to for help, there were no role models for me, and everything was pushing this major part of my identity into the darkest corners of society.
Today matters because for the first time, on a national level, light is being shed on the gay community and our need for equality. Youth who are in the same place as I was only 10 years ago see someone standing up for this part of themselves they don't understand. Individuals coming to term with their true feelings and attractions see that it isn't something that is weird or wrong. Couples who have been in a loving, committed relationship for decades see that they are finally going to get a piece of paper that says, "Yes, your love is real." For the first time our fight to be seen as equals in our communities, states, and nation is being supported by the major population of this great country. Today matters, because with every marriage campaign won, with every DOMA shut down, and with every open and positive report of the gay movement depicted on the television; a child, somewhere, is being validated.
So raise a glass, whether is champaign or sparkling cider, and cheers our nation on moving forward and opening doors. Today we can say, "Yes, we are the land of the free. Yes, all men (and women) ARE created equal."
Thank you Supreme Court, you have opened so many doors for the love to spread.