An Open Thank You Letter to the Congressman Who Just Came Out
On Monday, in an op-ed in Bangor Daily News, Representative Mike Michaud (D-Maine) came out as gay, making him the seventh openly gay representative in Congress. If he's elected as governor of Maine, he'll be the first person to get elected while out of the closet.
At first, I admit that I found this pretty uninteresting news. But when I thought about it, I realized that an old white male politician's coming out was more relevant to me than I thought. So, Rep. Michaud, if you're reading, here's what I have to say to you.
Dear Representative Michaud,
We are the youth. We are young and queer and angry and we will not, will not, end up like them. We are wild. We party too hard and we date who we want to date. Yeah, sometimes we dress this way just because we know they'll hate it, because it's fun to watch them squirm. We turn gender on its head. We burn silly notions of assimilation like earlier generations burned their bras. We stand together, all of us. The queers, the punks, the immigrants, the disabled, the poor. We stand together, radically, and sometimes that makes us believe we stand against someone less young and hip and radical than us. Sometimes we forget that our liberation cannot be complete unless everyone comes with us.
So, Representative Michaud, I want to thank you for coming out. Not because you're paving the way for future generations; we can do that ourselves. And not because it's any more radical or brave than what we face every day.
I want to thank you for coming out because it means we've got another friend in an important place. It means something, you know?
I'm gay, and so is my mom. She was gay in a different time, too, and she doesn't really talk about it, but I imagine some pretty real stuff went down, you know? Which is to say that you have probably experienced some pretty real stuff in your life, too, and we're proud of you. Thank you for being brave with us.
Representative Michaud, you are representing us in your political work; thank you for that. In return, because we are of the same movement, I will represent you in my queer liberation work. I will think of you, and Senator Baldwin, and Representative Polis, and the thousands of queers who fought our same fight. Thank you for continuing our work as we continue yours. Thank you for listening. Thank you for coming home.
And to my peers, I say this: it's time for us younger queers to stop thinking of ourselves as only a movement of young people. Not only are we all races, all abilities, all classes, but all ages too. We are not the only generation to demand liberation. Indeed, we are following in the footsteps of many decades of hard, important work. We young queers have to scooch over and make room for our older sisters and brothers without resentment. We have to recognize the fight they fought before us.