I usually steer away from subjects that tend to cause a lot of controversy, like religion and politics, because they often ruffle feathers and create conflict, which I hate. But today I’ve decided to dip my feet into the controversial waters and share my view of the recent Supreme Court ruling that makes same-sex marriage a right nationwide. Not because I want to stir anything up, but because I just feel like letting people know where I stand on the issue. I saw some very shocking posts on Facebook yesterday that made me want to share my view - posts about the devil’s work and the end of the world being near. I even unfriended someone due to the remarks made. I’m all about “different strokes for different folks” but when someone is at such an opposite extreme as me, there can’t ever really be a great connection. And for me, great connections are the true basis for friendships.
What I say here today may not align with your belief system and it may even upset you. If it does, I’m sorry for that. All I’m doing is speaking my truth because, as a coach, that is what I encourage others to do. It is one of the most important, yet hardest things you can do in life.
I am not looking for support or criticism by sharing my truth. I am only wanting you to get to know the real me a little bit better. I’ve always been very open with my life so this is nothing new for me. In fact, it’s comfortable for me. But I do hate controversy and judgment and that makes this post a little scary for me.
Today I want to make it clear to the world that I think the Supreme Court ruling is:
It’s fantastic to see how far we’ve come as a society to now lawfully allow anyone to marry exactly whom he/she wants! I know this upsets many people, but I also know that many people were upset when women were allowed to vote, when hemlines were raised, when Elvis shook his hips and when schools were desegregated. I know many who are upset will eventually come around and be ok with this.
This is positive progression for us! This is about allowing people to live their lives in honesty and truth. This is about letting people have legitimate legal rights. This is about letting people be happy!!!
I would rather live in a society with honesty, truth, and happiness than in one that believes in hiding who you are, asks you to be someone you’re not, and discourages self-expression. You can only live to your fullest potential by being who you truly are, so suppressing that, is the worst thing we, as a society, can do for this world.
I may be a bit more progressive-minded than some people because I have a transgendered nephew. I’d like to think I’d have the same mindset, but I also know that having personal skin in the game does make you see things differently. It’s easy to be close-minded when you don’t personally know someone who is affected by this Supreme Court ruling.
Let me tell you about my nephew Jay Smith-Brown…
First of all, Jay is the most amazing and “real” human being you’d ever want to meet. Jay is a successful businessman, married to an equally wonderful human being, and an fantastic dad to two children.
Jay was born Jennifer Karen Smith, and entered this world with his identical twin sister. Jay was always the “tomboy” of the two. There’s a picture I have from when they were very little and his sister is holding a doll and Jay is holding a baseball bat and ball. Jay never wore dresses – only pants. I remember giving Jay a pink outfit one Christmas. Oops! I’m sure when he opened that gift, it was a big letdown!!!
Although I’m sure Jay had internal struggles, from my external view, Jay was always Jay. And Jay spoke his truth early. First to his sister and then to his parents, before he graduated from high school. And Jay’s truth was that he liked girls, not boys. My sister and her husband never batted an eyelash. Their love for their children, and now grandchildren, is unconditional.
At first we thought Jay was a lesbian. Jay was attracted to women, and began dating women. Jay graduated from college and got a good job working in Washington, D.C. at the Human Rights Campaign. And that is where Jay met Kendra, the love of his life and mother of his two girls.
Although Jay always dressed and looked like a man, he didn’t start his transition until after his marriage to Kendra. To me, it wasn’t a surprise. It seemed perfectly logical. The hardest part for me, honestly, was changing from saying “her” to “him.” Now I don’t even think about it. I only think about Jay as a man.
I know that what Jay went through wasn’t easy, but I also know that Jay never had one family member who didn’t support him and didn’t want him to be who he was. I can’t imagine if Jay had to suppress that. The world would be missing out on an incredible dad, husband, son, and coworker.
So when I think about the Supreme Court ruling, I am thankful. I am thankful our Supreme Court justices have the courage to do the right thing. I am thankful the majority of our society pushed for the right thing. And I’m thankful that I have been made a better and more enlightened person by knowing my nephew Jay.
And the real kicker is that when Jay legally became a male, he and Kendra were legally married so he didn't really need the Supreme Court decision, but it would've made a heck of a difference to them when they were first married and it makes a heck of a difference to many, many others who are in their former shoes.
In closing, I’m sorry if this post upsets you or makes you want to unfriend me. If you feel the need to do so, that’s ok. Maybe if you had a Jay in your life, you’d feel differently.
If you’d like to read more about my fabulous nephew, here’s an article he wrote a couple of years ago for the Huffington Post:
Cousins!!! Jay, his twin sister, Stefanie, & my 2 daughters at Jay's 2003 wedding.