Walt’s Soapbox: Breakdown on the Rainbow Road

“Move over for a damage case…”

–Motorhead

I had done two rallies back-to-back, and upon getting home from work, I saw that SB 66, the “Super RFRA” bill, died in committee at the statehouse yesterday. And then I immediately switched to the live feed of the statehouse to watch the debate on SB 344, which while offering protections in acquisition or sale of real estate, housing, education, public accommodations, employment, the extending of credit, and public contracts, also has huge caveats of religious exemptions and exceptions. To put it plainly, the bill is a clusterfuck “compromise” that frankly is a slap in the face to LGBT Hoosiers.

I shouldn’t be doing this; subjecting myself to a torrent of public testimony regarding SB 344, much of which will be from the mouths of bigots cloaking their homophobia and transphobia in the sacred cloth of “religious liberty”. I should be sitting here with a glass of Scotch, my mind far away from this battle, and writing a column about dirty jokes and raunchy songs.

In short, I should be resetting my brain for the next fight..

My fellow activist friends often tell me about the importance of self-care. Usually, when I’m on the edge of complete collapse, muttering and sputtering between cigarettes, shaking from too much coffee and too many Stacker 3s.  The truth is,.. it’s advice I often have a hard time following.

But why? Why push myself to the point of mental and physical exhaustion in this fight? I think part of it is my personality. I have an admitted, excessive personality. When I find something, I believe it. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to defend it. I will spend countless hours researching what’s happening, talking with fellow activists about what actions are going on, and getting ready to march on the lines myself. Whatever I dig, I dig it all the way.

The second part is fear. If I take a rest and regroup myself, I have this fear that our opponents; local scumsuckers like Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute or Micah Clark of the American Family Association of Indiana, will use that opportunity to double down and attack, attack, attack! They never seem to rest, finding new ways to demonize us in front of elected officials. Ergo, I must be at the ready whenever the call to action comes. Able to spring at a minute’s notice. Otherwise, our opponents win much more easily.

But it’s not just fear of our opponents. I also drive myself to the point of mental and physical exhaustion because I don’t want to let down my fellow activists. I’ve stood front and center on a lot of picket lines, spouting impassioned speeches and leading the charge. A lot of those activists have become close friends of mine, and they know my passion and dedication to our cause. I feel if I tell them “Not today fellas. I need a breather, a chance to unwind, I will feel that I’ve let them down. I will feel that I’ve disappointed them.

It’s push and pull, man. Either, I do what I’ve been doing for basically the last thirteen years, chewing caffeine pills and chain-smoking Marlboros, cranking up the loud music to keep myself at the ready in this long struggle. Or, I finally listen to my brothers and sisters and take a weekend for myself. Turn on a few good trashy flicks, see my lady friend, go out to the drag club, and just put the Revolution on pause for a bit.

If I don’t, I’ll probably collapse sweaty-eyed and rambling on the next picket line…

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Featured image credit: faithoncampus.com

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