Those of you who have been reading TSM for at least a year now are clearly aware that this blog is dedicated to issues of social justice and civil rights; since you are reading this, I presume you share similar passions. Today I was able to visit with my friend Eva; she is a fierce advocate for social justice and civil rights.
Eva is 55 and grew up in Los Angeles until she was 12, when she moved to a small city in Washington State. She moved to Portland in 1995 to go to school and she has lived here ever since, “I went to college for computer sciences.”
On coming out:
I left my husband in 1991 and I have three wonderful children. I came out when I was 40, because it was about time. I had gone to this hardware store to apply for a job because my former manager encouraged me to apply there. I walked up to customer service and saw this big black beautiful woman with a great smile and I said to myself, I want her—love at first sight. We have been together for 13 years August 1. I refer to her as my wife. I don’t need a piece of paper to prove that, but it sure would be nice.
It was okay. My son Matthew knew before I told him and he walked up to Dana [my wife] and said “Don’t hurt her.” He and Dana are very close—they are buddies. Dana is also very close to my eldest, Jennifer—they call her Mama D. Jeff is my middle child and he and his girlfriend love us both and they are very accepting. However, I lost a lot of friends after coming out, but oh well. I’m not able to return to the small town in Washington.
When I told my best friend that I was gay, she said I was going to burn in hell. Fortunately, I have made so many new friends since coming out and feel very much accepted—I’m very open and I don’t hide who I am.
Do you consider you and your wife political?
Yes. Very much so. We follow politics and read a lot and we love Bill Maher. We are not Democrat or Republican-I just vote for the person who deserves it. Right now, President Obama is the only choice!
What would you give as a task to the LGBTQ community?
I want equal rights for everyone—I believe every Veteran should have a place to live—they should have a job. I believe everyone should have insurance. I am also an outspoken advocate for Autism. My grandson is autistic and he is 6 years old. I want to know why there is such limited funding for research on Autism. People need to know that some immunizations contain mercury and lead, the biggest one is the swine flu shot which contains mercury. When my grandson was three, we took him to a naturopath and he had mercury in his system and the protective coating they use for flame retardency on pajamas; he had a significant dose of that in his system. He had to be detoxed with vitamins at only three years old. (Eva grows tearful when talking about her grandchild.)
What task would you give the LGBTQ community?
Not be divided. Why don’t we fight as one? We are one community—if we stood as one and fought those that oppress us, Chick-Fil-A, Mitt Romney, anything that hurts us. Stand up for who you are and what you are and don’t let people hurt you.
What would you say to closeted people that are middle aged and fearful?
Life is too short—Do IT. I know it is not easy, there are so many factors. If your church does not support you find another church. It is an amazing feeling of freedom and self-worth and you will never be happier than after you come out and live your life honestly. Hiding is a lie and you are lying to yourself, your friends and your community.
Thank you, Eva. Thank you for your courage and thank you for your authenticity and your advocacy for civil rights for all.