Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The bumper sticker that called our bluff

A few weeks ago we received an HRC sticker from the Human Rights Campaign as a token of their appreciation for a donation my husband had sent them. When my husband opened the envelope and pulled out that blue and gold sticker, our eyes met, but neither of us said anything. I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking the same thing. But neither of us was willing to verbalize it for fear of appearing disloyal to our gay son or to our commitment to fighting for GLBT equality. (And in our gay son’s defense here, I don’t even think he’d know what the HRC logo looks like nor would he have cared what we decided to do with it if he did know, so the dilemma was totally of our own making.)

But in our defense, my husband and I both detest bumper stickers and vanity license plates. In our 25 years of marriage, we’ve argued about a lot of things, but never about that. No car that we have ever owned jointly or otherwise has ever sported a bumper sticker or vanity plate -- ever. We ---- just ---- do ---- not ---- like ---- them. Period ---- end of story.

So after a few seconds of uncomfortable silence hanging between us, my husband did what he does best: he laid the sticker on the dining room table and walked away. I think he was hoping I would just deal with it so he would not have to. Unfortunately, I could not throw it away. So every time we passed that table, which was often, that damn sticker was there gathering dust and beckoning us.

And so there it sat and life went on until one day about 2 weeks later. I was out running some errands when I came to this red light with a long line of stopped cars waiting for it to change. I pulled up, stopped, and then proceeded to wait patiently with everyone else. I was deep in thought and not really looking at anything in particular when something caught my eye. Right there in front of me was a brand new silver Mustang convertible with its top down and an older man and woman inside enjoying the gorgeous day. And on the bumper of their beautiful new car was an HRC bumper sticker - just like the one we had at home on the dining room table.

When I got home I told my husband about the mustang and the sticker. It wasn’t a very exciting story, but I really needed to tell him about it just the same. And of course, he didn’t have much to say in response. But it was what he didn’t say that spoke volumes. He picked up that sticker, dusted it off, and took it outside and carefully affixed it to our car. We both then stood there in silence admiring his handiwork.

That couple will never know the role they played in the final and most important step of our journey. With their unwitting help we had finally stepped all of the way out of the closet. We had finally reached a point of peace and total acceptance. We were finally ready to announce to the world we have a gay son. It was never really about the silly bumper sticker, it was about taking that final step and yesterday we did that. Share


Anonymous said...

Your blog is an inspiration. Your son is truly blessed to have a mother like you.

Anonymous said...

I am staring at the bumper sticker I just received in the mail.....afraid to put it on my car....afraid of what family and friends might say to me. My husband and I have been happily married for 17 years and have three beautiful children. I am appalled that LGBTQ people cannot share in that same word... "marriage".

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for the show of solidarity. Putting an HRC sticker on my own car was a surprisingly difficult move for me. I'm bisexual and don't feel much acceptance from either side, but I've had the luxury of being able to pass for straight and it's easy to fall back to that. Putting a very public and visible sign to the contrary out there was hard for me, and in this town I was seriously concerned about the possibility of having my tires slashed or something. I've never had any trouble, though, and it makes me feel better to know that others might see it and feel less alone.