“I have tasted freedom. I will not give up that which I have tasted.” — Harvey Milk
Like so many others, I remain heels-over-keister about the highest court in our land possibly taking away reproductive freedoms it once protected for its citizens.
So many parts of my identity — perhaps most acutely the female, lesbian, Jewish, anti-racist parts — feel that swift freefall of the rug underneath being yanked.
The face value of this reality — the possibility of stripping womb-carriers of their dignity, safety, autonomy and choice — is a noxious fog that numbs the mind and restricts visibility. And beyond that, in the distance, the silhouettes of homophobia and racism lurk, drumming their fingers awaiting their turn.
This devolution of our attempt to be the Greatest Country in the World has been weighty on my usually buoyant hope. What has kept me above water, though, is my trust in love and Harvey Milk.
“We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets.” — Harvey Milk
Like the rainbow that we queers wave with hard-earned pride, so many in our country have spectrums of color, other hidden truths, not visible to the naked eye.
Among Milk’s legacies was the encouragement of LGBTQ+ people to come out in their communities. “As difficult as it is,” he said, “you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends, if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all.”
That is now true of those who have had abortions.
When rational thought, freedom, poverty, health and racial justice seem not to be persuasive enough reasons to allow people to make choices about their bodies, I think loving someone who has benefitted from comprehensive reproductive medical care might be the thing that can. But only if they see our true colors. (Hi, Cyndi Lauper, icon girl who wants to have fun and who also had an abortion.)
Fortunately, people who have had abortions are cracking open the doors of their own closets, the light is spilling onto their faces, and they are courageously coming out to expose their full humanity as good humans who have survived making hard choices.
They are our friends, siblings, children, parents, grandmas, colleagues.
They are people we love and respect.
And they will change our fate.
“I’ll fight for you because I am you.” — Harvey Milk
Reproductive justice is an issue (like all other human rights issues) that impacts each and every one of us. As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Whether the sex a person engages in will result in pleasure or pregnancy doesn’t matter. We, the “us-es” as Milk referred to all historically excluded and marginalized communities struggling for equitable belonging, are raising our voices.
We can scream alone or sing together. And I’m hearing some beautiful music.
“Hope will never be silent.” — Harvey Milk
My name is Marina Gomberg, I’m here to recruit you to my choir.
Marina Gomberg is a professional communicator, a practicing optimist and a lover of love. She lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey, and their dog, Mr. Noodle. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.