Dear Daniel --
I want to tell you about a heartfelt conversation I recently had with a family member who opposed marriage equality. I hope it will motivate you to have one of your own with someone you care about this holiday season.
I know that is true because I helped my mother-in-law open her mind to marriage equality by having my own "Courageous Conversation" with her earlier this year.
Elinor, my mother-in-law, voted for Proposition 8. And it was really hard for me to talk with her about her decision. I felt like we were going in circles -- she thought gay marriage was "wrong" and a threat to "traditional" marriage -- and there was nothing I could say to her to change her mind. But one day I had an idea. I opened up my photo album.
See, I've taken thousands of photographs at Camp Courage workshops, Meet In The Middle in Fresno, and the National Equality March in DC, to document the marriage equality movement since Proposition 8 was passed last year.
So I asked her to look at the people in these photos. I told her how I recognized the love in their eyes, their souls, and their hearts because I saw it in myself and in my husband. I told her that I look at the man I married 13 years ago -- her son -- and think about all we've shared and done, suffered and celebrated. I told her I can't imagine a world where society and the law says our love isn't as equal as any other couple in a committed relationship.
The conversation that followed was the most open one we'd ever had about gay marriage. I don't think I've changed her mind -- yet. But I do know we aren't talking in circles any more, and that the door is open to many more conversations to come.
It took courage to have that conversation. But that is how we will win marriage equality -- by being courageous.
That's why the Courage Campaign is asking you to have a "Courageous Conversation" this holiday season. Make your pledge here and share with us the name and location of the person with whom you'll be having a "Courageous Conversation." Help us build momentum and inspire thousands of Courage Campaign members to join you. Bring equality and joy one conversation at a time:
Sometimes the most courageous act is a simple conversation with someone you know and love. I know these conversations are not easy. But that is why they are so important. Our research shows that the most effective way to change someone's opinion about marriage equality is to have someone they know and trust explain to them why it matters.
We'll help you make these conversations a success. We will offer support and advice about where and when to start the conversation. We'll also help you tell your "story-of-self" with a guide on our website.
And we'll let you turn your "Courageous Conversation" into a gift -- we'll send an online card to an LGBT friend or family member of your choice, letting them know that for this holiday season, you will pledge to help win equality for them by having a "Courageous Conversation." Click here to get started:
One "Courageous Conversation" at a time we can change the hearts and minds of those in our lives about marriage equality. Thank you for giving the gift of equality.
Community Organizer and Camp Courage volunteer photographer
The Courage Campaign is an online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.