The Right to Marry - April 14, 2014

An eye-opening experience

Simone Gewirth

I'm going to keep this short becuase I am stretched for time this week, but before I forget all the details, I wanted to talk about an opportunity that Ema and I had last week. Zach Wahls visited the U of I for Inclusive Illinois week last week and Ema and I got the opportunity to not only go and listen to him speek, but to also attend a dinner with him afterwards. Zach Wahls is the son of two lesbian mothers and 3 years ago in 2011 he was asked to testify in front of the Ohio legislature in opposition to a bill that would prevent marraige equality. He testified and was unknowingly videotaped and then uploaded to the internet. The video quickly went viral and launched Zach into the national spotlight. Since then he has been traveling arounf the country talking about his experiences growing up with two moms and advocating for equal rights and marriage equality for the LBTQ community.

I wish I had time to elaborate further, but his talk was very insightful and I am so glad I went. He gave a rendition of his famous speech which was very cool having watched it already online (the video is included below). One of the biggest things I took away from him however was his emphasis on the power of sharing stories. Zach has made such an impact just by traveling around and sharing his personal experiences. He has not really studied anything to do with LGBTQ issues or anything, but he makes such a good advocate because when he speaks, he speaks from the heart and from personal experience and nothing is more powerful than that. Listening to him made me excited for the development of our documentary because ultimately we are doing something similar--providing a way for people to tell their stories so that our community can hear them and benifit, I think greatly, from listening.


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