Matthew is in town stage managing an opera at the Auditorium Theatre. Until last week, I hadn't seen Matthew in 12 years and like so many of my friends who no longer live in the same city that I do, from the second we saw each other, it was as if no time had passed.
Same Matthew - - fierce in his opinions, gracious and loving in his friendship, smart and cutting with his humor. I tend to attract close friends like that and I'm grateful that I do.
In college, Matthew and I campaigned long and hard for Bill Clinton. After he took office, both Matthew and I attend the 1993 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington. Clinton wasn't there; he wasn't even in Washington that day. I remember feeling that gays and lesbians had helped place Clinton in office and now he was abandoning us. Then came Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the abandonment was clear.
Last night, Matthew and I stood in Grant Park as Barack Obama became our President Elect. When he took the stage, Obama gave the acceptance speech below, and we were mentioned. And it was a truly glorious moment.
When Barack Obama said "...gay, straight...," I felt as if Matthew and I had come full circle. Standing before us was a President who hadn't abandoned us. He included us within minutes of his acceptance of the Office of President. Those two words may not sound like much, but when included in that speech, they filled me with joy.
A beautiful, black woman standing beside me was overcome with tears, as was I. All of us took a step towards the future last night. And unlike in times past, the person in whom we had placed our faith to lead us into the future hadn't forgotten us. He was standing with us, offering his hand, helping us on this next part of our journey and reminding us - - all of us - - that no matter where we've been, no matter what others may think of us, no matter what the obstacles are in front of us, we will make the glorious vision that our Founding Fathers had for this nation a reality.
Yes we can.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."
My pictures and videos from the rally will soon follow.