When I was a teenager, I broke curfew only once.
My parents never technically gave me a curfew, because I was never out past midnight by choice. When I started dating (girls), I approached my dad and asked him for a 10 PM curfew, so as to keep from those later hours, when a date's parents would go to bed and she would hope to make out. I was pretty sure kissing was the most absurd human action on record (until I figured out I was kissing the wrong humans :-)), and I wanted to be able to honestly say "Sorry, but I've got to get home". One girl (the same girl whose mom rented a hotel room for our prom date, causing me to pretend the stomach flu with all of my limited acting skills), she even told me I'd never amount to anything if I didn't start standing up to my parents :-).... Poor girl, I'd break her heart in a matter of weeks without the courage to tell her why; if she only knew, she'd laugh, I'd hope.
But I'm rambling and off my aim already.
I came home to my mother crying because I was up at Ensign Peak.
Kids used to hang out there quite a bit in my day and it seems they still do. You get that full overlooking view of the city lights that plays so well with teen angst and possibility.
On to the point, I read in the paper today that a gay kid and his friends were beaten up there early last month, article here. A group of kids asked the gay kid to take their picture and eventually realized and asked if he was indeed gay. In the end, reconstructive surgery was required. There are really no extenuating circumstances to cause me to second guess this one (as I regrettably did with the case last month). This was, by all accounts, a genuine and tragic bias crime, and I hope someone recognizes the picture of that little f*beep*r who did such a thing and turns him in.
Over the years I've noticed people around here, OSA and SSA, prefer to think their anti-gay bias and anti-gay rights work harms no one. They'll think that even regarding the families they legally diminish in clear ways. But every time you tell your children our relationships, our feelings, and our families are sub-ideal, immoral, or unworthy of legal respect you make such violence more likely, no matter how much love for us you think you hold. Your children get the message, and their peers get the message, and your children will meet gay children. Your children will meet children of gay parents.
Your children will meet my children.
To be frank, I'm afraid of what your children will do, Mr. and Mrs. average Utahn; moreso today than yesterday. Events like this make Utah, our home by reflex, seem like something we should run from. Maybe Utah is as troubled as it seems in our abnormally high rates of suicide, depression, divorce and so on and it just hasn't hit us yet; it, at times, seems to have a diseased inside with a faithful and confident shining veneer.
Forgive me if I ramble a bit more. I'm just remembering, the second or third date Rob and I went on after our boys were born was at the place where we went on our first date. We sat there and ate and talked, exhausted from 6 month-old twins. I didn't notice, but a table next to us was paying attention to us and referred to us as "fags." Rob only told me after we left, knowing I can be irrationally willing to enter an argument, even though Rob would be the better of us to enter a physical fight. What if I did say something? Would something worse than a ruined date have happened? Would I have been put in the hospital, away from our babies in those important months?
EDIT: Man, I just remembered another. We had just been on the news speaking out against Utah's marriage amendment and we were walking through the mall with our boys toddling by our side. Some man, an adult man, apparently recognized us and said to his wife loud enough for us to hear "They should kill those fags." There was no fight that time; we hurried the kids down the mall and away from him.
This kid got beat up for being known to be gay, and I'm certainly known for that at times. Our boys out us all the time. I'm wondering now if I feel too safe here; have I an unreasonable bias favoring Utah? Maybe I too easily forget cruelty here, for the wholesome image of Utah I have from my youth.
Anyway, I guess I should tie up the first anecdote, as to why I broke curfew.
I was up at Ensign Peak with my friend (no, not gay). He had a very troubled youth and told us he was going to kill himself. He had the gun there, but I'm not sure how serious he was as he had no bullets (which seems kind of funny now, but back then it was one of the most stressful nights of my life). We stayed up there well past midnight, talking, until I was sure he'd be okay. I came home to very worried parents, and this friend, years later, eventually ended our friendship when he converted to the LDS church and took issue with my family (I wrote about that event a long while ago here). Eh, history...
Maybe it's near time to move my family to where I've no connection to the area, no personal memories in the tragic locations of local news stories, where it's safer for us all, legally and physically. Or maybe I'm just frustrated and it will pass; that's more likely. We'll see what happens with Proposition 8 in November; California may start to look really good again...