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This is somewhat of a follow-up post to some of the posts starting with When Groups go Wrong. I have been having issues with that whole event, one of them being letting go.
Letting go of things is difficult, for many reasons. It can be something we’re used to and we don’t like change. Check. It can hurt. Check. (But it already hurts, so then, what difference does moving away make?) The voice of reason–not mine–interjects–disengage. See, luckily I have some voices of reason, because I haven’t been reasonable at all times. In fact, I’ve been downright obstinate in my refusal to be reasonable. Why? I trust the people giving me advice. “Just stop dealing with the people who are making me miserable.” “Stop going back.” That is the absolute best advice anyone can give someone in a situation like mine. I wasn’t in the place to listen to the words. I could hear them, but I wasn’t listening.
One of the people involved in the whole debacle I considered my friend, and I cared about him. Whatever the situation is at Headquarters in terms of identities, people, numbers, reality, I considered him my friend and I was determined I could make him see reason and we could be friends again. I did crazy things things I normally wouldn’t do. I asked a friend on the board to contact him, and he was horrible to her. That should have been a clue right there. I felt terrible about that–she didn’t deserve to be treated that way, and he owes her an apology. I tried to send couched messages through my blog. I thought, he read it once, maybe he still does. “Not very likely,” my stalwart friend told me. He’s realistic. I’m better at deluding myself than I thought.
The thing that really hurt, the reason really keeping me back, was that my supposed friend hasn’t made any contact with me whatsoever. He had, on the “sage advice” of the “moderator,” blocked me as soon as things started to happen. Anyone who reads this or knows me knows communication is incredibly important to me. This silence from him, my complete inability to contact him, made me appreciate a little more what it must be like for some of the students I worked with who were nonverbal but had so much to say. I still went back and read the posts, and after a sadly long time I realized something, and I confirmed it with my friend, who agreed, so I knew I wasn’t going crazy.
My friend was changing. He is using phrases he never used to use, acting in ways he never used to act, saying things he never would have said. I have never divulged his secrets to anyone. If anyone has, its on his side. But they’re his secrets, he can tell the world if he wants. Now, sadly, it seems he won’t have to. On the very slight chance you are reading this, are you happier now? More fully realized as…an individual? Is this what you wanted? Because you’ve succeeded, and it’s a tragedy. Which is better: having more people like you on a superficial level, or fewer people like you for who you really are?
Sometimes we hold on to things so tight, we want things so badly, and then the truth hits so hard and so suddenly at first the realization is a relief. What I held on to was my old friend, the person I wanted to talk to was my old friend, not this new person using his name. I don’t like him. I want nothing to do with him. If I met him in real life, I’d think he was a jerk.
So there it ends. First I was grieving for the loss of a friend. Now I’m grieving for the death of a friend, at least that persona, that identity. But there’s a finality to that. That ends.
Please get help. There are links on the right side. Use them.
And this, hopefully, will be the last of this series of posts. It is time to move forward. Enough is enough. My brain has been re-aligned, and will stop moving in circles but drive forward, except for the occasional times when it wants to do wheelies for fun. I am very grateful to have good friends who are patient enough to deal with my temporary insanity and give me good advice as well. I don’t know how I got so lucky. It was just a good connection at the right time.
The early hours of June 28th, 2013, mark the 44th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which occurred outside the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Central Greenwich Village, New York City. David Carter calls these “the riots that sparked the gay revolution.” I knew nothing about them until recently. They occurred the year I was born, which makes me very happy that some other good things came out of 1969 and that it can be remembered for other things than Nixon being sworn in as President for the second time. Not an auspicious day to be born on. I could argue I was born in the Philippines and I actually missed that whole debacle entirely, I suppose.
But that’s not the point of this post. These riots were a remarkable step in gay rights. Here’s the Wiki link:
If anyone has a better one, or a link they think would add more information, put it in the comments.
I was wondering how I could follow up the news of Lief getting a new heart, then I started to think about what that actualized symbolized. I’m big on symbolism. Basically, because you can examine something, say what you think it interprets, and while people can disagree, they can’t outright tell you it’s wrong. Who is anyone else to tell you what you see in something is wrong, just because they don’t see it?
This is what I was thinking. Someone’s family lost a loved one, someone precious to them who will always be missed, and then allowed his or her heart to be donated so Lief could live and continue on, given everything goes well, with his little ten year old life and all the expectations he had before he was stuck in a hospital bed for five months. That heart is starting over, beating in a new body. Giving Lief new life.
So, on this anniversary that will always be the same age as me, an anniversary for a life changing event for so, so many people, this is what I have decided.
I am going to let the past go, as hard as it is to do, because there is still pain and there are many things left unresolved. At this point, however, I don’t think they will ever be resolved. It is ironic that the person I discussed the Stonewall Riots with the most is one of the entities I am leaving behind. I am done with subterfuge, mind games, sly cunning, psychological mischief, and emotional abuse. Done. I am done with pretenders who take the game too far and continue to reel people in like fish on a hook for their own personal enjoyment. It’s sick and it’s twisted.
The first discussion I had with the person who I ended up talking to about the Stonewall Riots was very big on pride in being gay. I said there was nothing wrong with being proud, but it might cause a distancing effect from other people who didn’t understand, and maybe it was better to try to bridge the gap with understanding so that rights were just as important as pride. We sort of went around on that one for a while. But, for someone who is so proud of being gay, look how you’ve treated the people who supported you. Look back at the situation and tell me you can’t understand why myself and some others reacted the way we did. For myself, I don’t even know you exist other than the occasional postings and lamenting on the board. If you’re reading this, did you read the first half of this paragraph? Did you read the part about pride? You want to complain about people leaving so you can act sad and say, “Last person out shut off the lights.” Is this a self-pity party? Imagine how different things would have been if the three of you had handled things differently. You had an active say in the way the outcome could have been determined. Couldn’t you tell I was trying to help? Did you even give me a chance, listen? No. You both disappeared. For things being “private,” they were awfully quickly dispersed, don’t you think? So if pride in being gay is more important than kindness to fellow humans, if pride is more important than friends, if you hold your pride so close to your heart you don’t let anything else in, then tell me, what is the use of pride? Isolation? Lack of morals? Lack of values? Bad judgement? There are still ways open, it’s your choice to take them or not. Just remember, pride cometh before a fall.
Aren’t you glad that no one came along and deleted Stonewall out of history the way the entity so easily deleted the life out of our group? The winners are supposed to write the history. What if the winners are really the losers? The heart is gone, donated elsewhere, and the group will never be the same. Why don’t you both just leave? Do something more worthwhile? Start a group about something more worthy. Gay rights in literature. You’re both smart, if sometimes similar.
I think I’ve said what I needed to, at least what I’m willing to post to my millions of readers. lol But, you think you’ve figured everything out. You haven’t. I’m a little surprised, actually. I’m a little disgusted at what you’ve left up, yet my posts are offensive? You need to sit down and do some serious self examination, which is what I’ve been doing. That’s why, with this anniversary of Stonewall, I still support the cause it stands for as strongly and wholeheartedly as ever, but you are in my past, a regrettable mistake. It wasn’t until the early hours of June 28th, but you won’t have read this since you don’t speak to me at all. I truly am a non-entity to you, but you do have your pride to wrap yourself in.
One of my online friends, who is not much older but is incredibly wiser, which I think is unfair, and I have discussed this, and I’ve known all along he was right and putting it in the past was the right thing to do, it was just so hard to do. Then I was standing there at the sink, sorting out the dishes–I hate washing dishes and am very OCD about the order in which things need to be washed–thinking about everything, and Lief, and the David Carter book, and the friend I have who’s homeless because her asshole of a boyfriend kicked her out when she started showing some independence and who spent the night with us last night and may be back tonight because there was a mistake and the spot she was given at the shelter was given to someone else before she got there. She’s in severe pain because of her back–she’s going to need to have surgery, it’s so bad, and I thought about how strong she is, and how strong Lief is, and how brave the patrons of the Stonewall Inn were, not even knowing what they were starting or the effects it would have on gay history and gay rights. And I thought, yes, I’m in pain right now, but it will fade, and I have better things to do with my life. I have a new editing job. I have things with voc rehab that need to be done. I need to get my health insurance straightened out. So why am I feeling down about a friendship with someone who could obviously care less if I were breathing or not? Why waste the time? Why bother feeling things for people who make no effort to communicate with you? That’s ridiculous. I might as well try to have a conversation about nebulas with the broom.
It’s time to move on, from immature hurtful people to somewhere else where people are more respectful and kind. I learned an important lesson, and unfortunately it took this to teach it to me. Just because I am who I am online doesn’t mean other people are. I’ve been too gullible. People don’t trust that I am who I am because they aren’t who they are, for the most part. I need to stop trusting people I don’t know so easily, because all that does is make myself vulnerable to people pretending to be something they aren’t. Sometimes it’s something little that doesn’t matter so much. Sometimes it’s something malicious and malevolent. I also have people online now that I trust quite a bit. I don’t know if I could ever develop a persona. Probably not. I was never a good actor, I just need to be more careful.
I’m tired of trying, this post is the end of that trying. I’m stubborn, yes, ornery, yes, but there’s no dealing with lack of conscience or emotion in another person. The fact that I am those two things mean that I have feelings, care about things. So, people got hurt. On both sides. It didn’t have to be a war where someone “wins.” Game of Thrones is fiction. That’s part of the problem, though, isn’t it, fiction vs. reality? But och, even then there’s that pride again. Pesky thing. Even Mr. Darcy wasn’t this bad. I’m proud I’m finally moving on (really, this time, anyone who knows me knows it takes at least a few false starts, or ends, I should probably say, before I actually do manage it).
On to something bigger, better, with no regrets. Everything is a lesson. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe people meet the people they do at the times they do for a reason, for however long. I wouldn’t have met some of the people whose friendship I value if this hadn’t happened, and that’s my future.
Now, as anyone knows who has watched Silence of the Lambs or heard the saying elsewhere, it’s never good to assume because it makes an ass out of you and me. I innocently clip-clopped my way along the virtual super-highways, not looking for the roads that had trolls under them. See, that gets confusing when it coms to the fairy tale, because there are the toll trolls, and then the internet trolls, and they are different. The toll trolls are scandinavian in origin, I believe. Internet trolls are ruder and nastier than toll trolls–you at least know what their terms are. Internet trolls are simply there to make trouble and stir people up like a nest of hornets. I don’t mean Internet trolls, although you have to watch out for them too, I mean the toll trolls. These have grown more sophisticated in the age of technology. They sit outside the doors of forums and groups, and those of us who are naive and innocent (the big billy goat gruff is still playing Bejeweled, can’t get him away from it) fall for the lure and promise of friends who understand us. And, amazingly, as promised, they do. The world opens up and everyone speaks your language.
You meet people, start to find out who you like the hang out with the most. If you’re feeling a little in need of extra attention, there are people there to give it, perk you up.
This is my cautionary tale to myself. There are people I have met online that I trust–I trust their advice, when I’m unsure of something I go to them. There are, however, only a couple of these, and only one I would tell the most embarrassing situations I’d created for myself. That’s out of all the people I talk to, most of whom I’m mostly sure are real. If you’re wondering if this goes back to the When Groups go Wrong post, yes, it does.
First of all, however, I think the whole setting of the scene needs to be defined. Basically, in terms of the computer, what is virtual?
According to the Merriam-Webster, the applicable definitions are:
4: Being on or simulated on a computer or computer network <print or virtual books>
a: occurring or existing primarily online <a virtual library><virtual shopping>
b: of, relating to, or existing withint a virtual reality <a virtual world><a virtual tour>
So, then, just by turning on the computer you are letting yourself into a virtual world. I was trying to think of reasons why we trust people we don’t know so easily. It’s not something new. It happened in newspapers before it ever happened on the internet, it (creating false identities) just morphed along with the new technology. And when we accepted the new technology, and our families accepted it, in some cases, even grandparents, and we all emailed each other and sent pictures, etc. we let our guard down. On Facebook we talked to our family and let our friends in. These were all people we knew were real. People with only these experiences went into the world of internet groups and chat rooms with their guard already lowered. After all, the other people they’d talked to were real, right? One possibility. Another is our hope, when someone we meet seems to be someone we want to spend time with and so much in sync with us, we don’t want to think they may not be real.
I should make a differentiation here. I’m not talking about people not what they seem, necessarily, or sock puppets, but people who have been given a personality and voice, a picture of who they are, by someone else, and are controlled by that person. If we are in a group and there’s a moderator, or co-moderators, we are essentially in that virtual world they have created for as long as we stay in their “space”–a little chunk of virtual space with all these virtual identities clinging to it. The closer a group is, I think, the less hard they have to cling, because they have faith in their virtual world, that it is what it seems to be, and isn’t pretending to be what it isn’t. You know your moderator is real, not imaginary. If you lift the mask, there’s a face there. Not so with the virtual imaginary friends.
I should explain myself more clearly. These people have an outside identity, a shell, so that they appear real, but if poked too hard, they collapse in on themselves like an old balloon, the deception of their identity flaking off. They were someone else’s creation. But how could they be, you might protest. You talked to them, had privately messaged conversations that you thought only the two of you shared. But if the person is imaginary, who were you talking to, who were you messaging, and, most importantly, who was reading what you were writing? You have just expressed your innermost thoughts meant for the now very flat person on the ground to someone you don’t know, some other virtual person who isn’t imaginary, but who controlled your “friend” who you thought was real.
It’s such a convoluted world. When we go into a virtual world, we have to remember that everything else, to an extent, is also virtual. At one point in the discussion in the group I’m thinking of, the moderator joked, “What do you want, us to photocopy our driver’s licenses and post them?” in an attempt to make us sound ridiculous. Now I wish I’d responded. “Yes, actually. I do want to see your driver’s license. For all three of you.” If I had called his bluff, which he correctly guessed none of us would do, the whole drama would have been over, although I’m guessing he might have had a back up plan, an excuse why they couldn’t.
I don’t think many people are going to have that situation, where a moderator has created imaginary friends to help run the group.
I suppose it’s not really a problem for anyone unless they have what they thought was a special friendship with one of those friends. Thought that maybe they really could be good friends, although why they’d want to be friends with a prickly hedgehog escaped them. Possibly because they tended to be able to be friends with real people with similar temperaments who had been co-workers, the ones that drove everyone else batty. The ones who were always put on the same shifts with me because the assistant manager knew I didn’t mind said prickly person. He was literally most likely a genius and probably had Asperger’s, hence the total lack of people skills. Why he was in retail I don’t know. His interactions with customers were often very amusing to watch and I kept an eye out to make sure I didn’t have to intervene. Especially as his “inside voice” was quite often his “outside voice.” I would sympathise with him that yes, people were often very stupid. I often wonder what part of the universe he’s ruling now. Why he got along with me but not anyone else. Possibly because I accepted him the way he was. This is who that friend online reminded me of, even down to the Borg.
I wish it didn’t have to be this way. Having a friend suddenly become imaginary is a bit of a shock. More than a bit. Nerve wracking.
I’m open-minded about it should the situation change. The doors aren’t shut, but neither are they flung open wide. I have learned some things.
Maybe I should change my tagline to : “Making sure my imaginary friends are real.”
I have been trying to get over this in my own way, but without talking about it, and it isn’t working. It was only yesterday, although it seems longer ago than that. I suppose because it was so intense.
Everyone has all these warnings about meeting friends online: they could be stalkers, they could be pretending to be someone else, they could be chainsaw wielding mass murderers…they could be “bad people.”
What if something happens, and a little of the above is true, say, they could be pretending to be someone else, but they have a reason for it, one they can’t control. Say, a mental illness, possibly on top of a lot of other confusions in their life, which triggered a massive breakdown.
I was in a group that I absolutely loved. I could be myself, it was a small group, and it felt like a little family in a sense. I felt at home there. Then, one night, the moderator, who we all loved, disappeared. Just simply vanished without a trace, without an explanation, nothing. Disturbing is the least shocking feeling many of us felt. Among betrayal, shock, sadness… One of the now co-moderators said that we were basically ungrateful, that he had left without saying anything because he cared too much to say goodbye. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. That was on June 11th. A couple of days later a new moderator appeared, a mystery moderator, dressed in a suit with a question mark face. I think I can say with relative certainty that this unsettled many of us. Everything started to slowly break apart–there were rumors that it was the previous moderator who had come back–who had never left, and the two co-moderators were entirely fictitious characters he had started. There had been an outbreak of sock puppet one star raters earlier, so that was another consideration. The fact was that no one knew, and people were becoming distrustful. This distrust was sharply rebuffed by the co-moderators, who said they were real.
Yesterday everything came to a head. There was a group, the one that I agreed with, who didn’t care what the new moderator looked like, we just wanted to know what kind of person he was. He had already changed the rules: it had been, “No criticizing other members.” Now it was “No criticizing other members or the moderator.” He kept deflecting the issue and questions about his personality into whether or not people wanted him with or without a face. Finally he was called on it in such a manner that he had to reveal himself. Our group was mostly gay man and straight women. He was straight and married, so he said. He was rude and lascivious in his greeting to me–all three of the men, all gay, had made comments about me in one way or another. I didn’t really think of it at the time, that all three had said something. After all, what are the chances of that happening? Upon reflection, not very high. The possible reasons
for that I’m not going to go into here. Upon further questions, he started to break a little at a time, someone who knew him well tried to talk to him, someone who knew who he was and his past. The moderator proceeded to ban a couple of people from the group. We knew something was really wrong, and told him he could contact any of us who was there–I sent him a private message–he was already somewhat delusional and accused me of something to do with one of the co-moderators which wasn’t true, told me he was blocking me because he didn’t want to play that game, and was going to advice that specific co-moderator to do the same. I tried to reach them repeatedly. One blocked me immediately, the other said he was sick of conspiracy theories and then blocked me. They still aren’t receiving messages today.
The new moderator, who is the old moderator, is still there. He might stay now, when he was threatening to leave yesterday. Who knows. I left the group. There seemed to be something specific against me, although I’m not entirely sure what. I had gotten along fine with the old moderator and both of the co-moderators. But that isn’t the most important thing I have to say.
The most important thing I have to say is that yes, sometimes group moderators are bad people, creepy people, people who otherwise couldn’t get anyone to talk to them, slimy people you’d never approach if you were walking down the street.
Our moderator was NOT one of those people, Even now, he’s NOT one of those people. He’s mentally ill and needs help. I’m mentally ill too, I can empathize with him. Going into a full-blown episode on line is not something I would want to happen to me, and I wish he had professional help. He needs it, because he’s a loving, caring, sweet and kind man. He did things I know he wouldn’t like knowing he did. Things I know I would forgive him for because they were said while he was in a manic state and he can’t really be held responsible for that, I believe. Whether or not the other people he hurt forgive him, that’s a personal decision on their part, and I couldn’t blame them for going either way. It was hurtful.
As for the co-moderators, you did a fine job of not co-moderating, which leads me to believe you are constructs. If you’re not, you should be ashamed of yourselves. All you had to do was read what was happening on the board to see the truth. There is no excuse for not intervening if you are real. If you want people to believe you, make them believe you. If you are real, try to talk your new “Co-Moderator” into getting some help instead of running roughshod over everyone, including the two of you. Setting your profiles to private and not receiving messages doesn’t really engender faith in the truthfulness of your identities.
Just remember that sometimes there are people in groups who are not “bad,” they just need help. Mental illness isn’t contagious, you won’t get cooties from it, or if someone sneezes on you. Have empathy for the person, let them know you care, even if they tell you you’re lying. What you’re saying is getting into some niche in there. Don’t write them off as a bad person, though, because they’re not. They just need help.
This came up in group I’m in and a member kindly posted this link:
I looked at some of the comments following the article, which is always a dangerous thing, because that’s where all the interesting people start climbing out of the woodwork. I should mention the post before this one was one talking about “religious bigots raising their children to hate everyone, such as gays, and perpetuating their irrational christian beliefs.” Normally I stay out of religious arguments completely. I’m not religious. I come from a family (stopping at my parents) of Southern Baptists. I see the kind of “love” they preach. Love everyone unless they’re different. Love everyone who follows all our rules. Put on a good show in public, but in private it’s not so important. I truly don’t understand the comment below, and I don’t understand how someone could be so ignorant of the world around them. I find it hard to believe that anyone could make the statement in the second sentence and truly believe it–I think I can fairly safely say that it isn’t an accusation but a matter of fact that bible centered churches have and actively do preach hatred and the denial of rights toward individuals who are gay, and that many christian groups have taken a strong negative stance against gays and gay rights.
“What Christian organization are you speaking of? Because NO Jesus centered and Bible centered Church that I have attended has EVER preached hate or the denyl of rights. What it DOES teach is love and acceptance. I may not agree with their life choices but that doesn’t mean I hate them. What they choose to do has nothing to do with me. I may not agree but I still love. Just as Jesus did for me. The people who you are speaking of would be ignorant, hateful, and practice bigotry whether they were “Christians” or not. Just because they call themselves a Christian doesn’t make them one. I can call my self a Muslim but if I dont follow the teachings of the Koran and Muhammad I am not a Muslim.
Edit: I took out a section of this post in which I used a more extreme example of hate and violence to try to “win” this “argument” I apologize and retract the former. Homosexuals that experience hate and violence are no less important because some other groups may experience more.“ Eric Truman
“Have you taken a look around and read the news lately? Why is it the religious groups that believe that reparative therapy is possible? I’m afraid that there are more religious groups against equal rights for people who are LBGTQ than for them.
For those of you who believe it’s a life choice, think again. People are born the way they are, already oriented the way they are. This makes them no less equal, no less worth loving, gives them no less right to chose who they want to love, than any of the rest of us.
Who are the groups who are keeping them from having the rights they should already unquestioningly have? Religion, and the government. Two groups who should have no voice in a persons’ sexuality or who they love.
Anyone who says that religious groups only teach love and acceptance are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and seeing what they want to see.
God made everyone in his image, correct? Does God make mistakes? I don’t think so. Would a religious person agree to that? God made people who are straight, who are gay, who are lesbian, who are all gamuts of that spectrum. They are not aberrations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They are perfect the way they are.
Step out of your box and truly look at the world around you. Say hello to someone with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Use tolerance. Practice patience. Love. Treat others as you would want others to treat you.”
The thing that I think stands out most jarringly to me is the statement in the “Edit” section of Mr. Truman’s post–he mentions “winning” the “argument.” I’m not sure if he’s retracting that as well or if he still means it. Equality isn’t about winning an argument. This is a fight for rights, yes, but only because the rights which are duly owed haven’t already been given as they should have been.
While not religious, I still think the above postulation does make sense. I also believe that religious groups and politicians should mind their own business, once they’ve straightened out this mess and given equal rights, legally, to everyone who should have have. Not deserve to have them, although they do, but should have them as human beings just like anyone else. As a basic and fundamental right. We’re past the days (I thought) where children had to be protected under animal abuse laws because there were no laws protecting children from abuse. Aren’t we?
This country, in it’s attempts to escape oppression for freedom, has done a fine job emulating that oppression. Oppression against people of different races, beliefs, women, LBGTQ individuals, children, people with disabilities…
I went to my SO’s daughter’s 8th grade graduation last night. She had been attending a Charter School loosely based on Waldorf principles, which emphasis creativity, individuality, the ability to work together (they don’t adhere so strictly to the Waldorfian principles because, quite frankly, they were written over a hundred years ago and they haven’t changed with the times). These children, approximately twenty of them altogether, have grown up together. They’ve had the same teachers, the same classes. All of them gave short speeches. For those children who entered later on, in say, 5th grade like my SO’s daughter did, they were suspicious of the methods of the school and the curriculum because it was so radically different from those of a regular public school. (This school has a waiting list, we were lucky she got in). But these children gave the wisest, funniest, most heartfelt speeches. Some of them said they’d hated school until they went there. For some of them, it was their last chance school, they’d tried every school in the district and been unsuccessful. They all mentioned the school being like a family to them. These kids have it together, and are much more mature than I was when I was fourteen. They’ll need it, because now they’re going on to public high schools around the district, and she’s going to the biggest high school in Eugene, but is also a very good school. They have values and ethics some adults are lacking. Her mother is lesbian, with a partner who’s known her since she was 5, so she’s grown up used to differences. I’ve known her since she was 8. She has changed so much, and I know that she will be a kid who won’t bully other kids in high school. She’ll help them. It’s in her nature. I am incredibly proud of her and her tenacity for standing up for what she believes in. I hope there are more young adults like her, or who will follow her example, and help fight against bullying and prejudice. I’ve talked to her about it. She’s very receptive–unlike many fourteen-year-olds, you can have conversations with her about pretty heavy things.
So, in a way I suppose it will be a fight, although I think it’s sad that someone who isn’t gay thinks it’s something that needs to be won. To me, it’s not a matter of winning or losing, it’s a matter of long deserved reparation that should never have had to be asked for, and should never have been withheld–basic human rights.