22 June 2011

A little kid’s perspective on gay marriage

I love being an aunt, and I’m giving you fair warning that I’m going to use this space to brag about my 9-year old niece. Look away if you have to.

She came to visit us for a week recently, and one of the places we took her to was the Times Square Visitor Center. (A pretty nice place, if you haven’t been--and it’s free). Besides the Broadway costumes, the best exhibit is the one about the Times Square confetti. They offer pieces of them so that you can write a wish on them, and turn them in so that they can be dropped over Times Square on New Year’s Eve. We all took a pen and wrote our wishes. My niece said it had to be a secret, or it wouldn’t come true, but when I went to put mine in the bin, I could see hers pressed up against the front of the see-through container.

In little-kid writing, it said: “I WANT MIA AND MAURA TO GET MARRIED THIS YEAR”. Of all the things that a 9-year could wish for, she put that. I cried a little.

One night, we made ice cream sundaes and took an online quiz for tweens, full of a random assortment of questions from all kinds of categories. When they asked for the Biggest Problem Facing the World Today, my niece said “Gay bullying”. Is she my kid or what?

Coincidentally, the speculation about the possible gay-marriage vote in the NY Senate began to heat up during her visit. One morning, I emerged from the shower in time to see her watching NY1, and picking up the phone to call several Republican New York senators, to persuade them to vote for gay marriage in New York.

Her pitch went like this:

[In a tiny, little-kid voice] “Hi, my name is Presley. I’m ten years old and I live in New York. My aunts are gay and they want to get married, and I want them to also. They’ve been together for over three years.” When she was asked for her address, she gave ours. (She fudged that a little--she’s nine, not ten, and lives about 1,000 miles from New York, but whatever--maybe her way seemed more grown-up). At the end, she thanked them politely and hung up.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s how you get things done. Although the marriage vote is uncertain at this point, to say the least, she deserves a big thank-you for not only being on top of current events, but for stepping up to the plate for what she believes in. Have we?

-Maura McGurk

Maura makes artwork about issues related to the LGBT/queer/gay experience, and has an upcoming exhibition featuring her paintings in response to gay bullying. Please check out her website for more information. 10% of any proceeds will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.

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