Reflections on the NOM tour: The front lines of loss, then equality

August 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm 45 comments

(Phyllis threw herself into the tour right in the middle of it and under trying circumstances, yet has done amazing job bringing us photography truly worth a thousand words. Her’s her reflection on the NOM tour. -Adam)

by Phyllis Lozano

When I was approached to come on the tour I had a lot of reservations.  My partner of six years was dying of cancer.  The last two months were really difficult for more than just the obvious reasons.  I had just started a new quarter of school and took an incomplete because I could not concentrate on anything other than Maureen and the inevitability of what was to come.  I knew that some of my co-workers were on the tour and when I spoke to Maureen about it she said she thought I should go.  She said what better way to fight for marriage equality than to be on the front line of the battle.  When Arisha approached me about leaving I said I would consider it because I thought it would be a good idea to get away and clear my mind.

I boarded a plane July 23 not knowing what to expect or what my contribution was going to be. My first rally was in Indianapolis, Indiana.  We got to the State Capitol building and I thought to myself “wow, this is sort of eventful” as about 15 minutes later pro-equality supporters started to show up.  It was super-hot and humid. I was running around photographing the speakers on the NOM side.  The NOM side outnumbered us by about 10 or 20 people.  As I was photographing the scene, I heard a bullhorn with chanting and when I looked up I saw nearly 200 people standing on the sidewalk yelling out things like “equality not hate”.

Equality counter-protestors in Indianapolis

I photographed a woman standing toe-to-toe with a NOM supporter, sign to sign, for what they believed in.

Rally supporters confronting each other in Indianapolis

It was a very powerful sight for me because I realized I was a part of something big.  I realized that this was the front line of battle that Maureen was talking about.

From city to city and in every state I met people like me, wanting to fight for something that I want one day.  I kept hearing in my ear “this is exactly where you need to be:, not just for me, but also for Maureen.  In spite of missing my family and friends I knew this was the place I was going to make the biggest difference, at least for now.

I thought being in close proximity with two people that I work with was not going to work for me, and that served to be true at times.  We have gotten into some disagreements but nothing we couldn’t say sorry for and move on with.  We have solidified the already strong bond we have and will continue, moving forward, to “have each other’s back”.  There were many times I wished I could hopped on a plane and come home like when my daughter broke up with her boyfriend and called me and said “I wish you were here” or when the Prop 8 decision was read.

I have a good and bad memory from all of the rallies we have been to.  My best memory so far was in Madison, Wisconsin.  When I saw the pro-equality supporters marching up the street to the State Capitol and chanting, it was very emotional.  At that moment I was proud to be apart of that community, seeing the camaraderie and people gay and straight standing side by side fighting for equality, it was awesome, all I could do was cry.  My worst memory was when I interviewed a man particularly obsessed with same-sex sodomy in who would not shake the hand of a black woman because she is black or even of Anthony because he is gay.  To talk to him and hear the fear and hate in the words he delivered made me sad.

Following the tour around and documenting what we see and talking to the different people for and against the National Organization for Marriage and their message of hate and fear gave me a sense of peace in myself.  I come from a church background myself and believed the lies for a long time.  I finally feel like I have made a contribution to equality by exposing the lies told by this organization.

I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I go home.  I will know where I am when I wake up and what I’m doing for the day, but the one thing that will change in me is I will know I had a part of something that was bigger than me.  I will continue to fight for equality probably for the rest of my life, but this is so far my proudest moment.

Entry filed under: Community/Meta, NOM Tour Tracker.

Meet the Trackers, Part 5: Jethro Rothe-Kushel Los Angeles County preparing to extend hours, ceremony availability in anticipation of Prop 8 Motion to Stay ruling

45 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  August 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you for everything, Phyllis

    Reply
    • 2. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 14, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Hi Kathleen (and subscribing).

      Reply
    • 3. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm

      Hello Kathleen,
      People like you make it worth being on the road for this long.

      Reply
    • 4. Ann S.  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you from me, too, Phyllis.

      Reply
    • 5. AndrewPDX  |  August 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

      ‘scribin… fashionably late to the party?

      Reply
      • 6. Ronnie  |  August 27, 2010 at 10:19 pm

        I’m scribin even more fashionably late to the party ten you Andrew….yeah like 2 weeks…lol…I’ve been really busy….<3…Ronnie

        Reply
  • 7. Ray in MA  |  August 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Al I can say is that you are wonderful person. I wish we could clone you. It would add to the beauty of our world.

    Reply
    • 8. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you Ray,
      I cant think of anything I would rather be doing.

      In Solidarity,

      Reply
  • 9. Bob  |  August 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    yup, there was something special about Madison, another best memory, loved it too, and thank you so much for sharing this and being there bearing witness, for lthose of us who were not able, especially for acknowledging the part about it being bigger than you, and perhaps even bigger than all of us colllectively, enjoyed your post,

    Reply
    • 10. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm

      Bob,
      Madison was such a life changing experience for me. I still get emotional when I think of it.

      Reply
      • 11. Straight Grandmother  |  August 15, 2010 at 6:05 am

        MY Home state BTW!!! Although now I live in Provence there is always a part of Wisconsin with me.

        Reply
  • 12. Sagesse  |  August 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Hoping you all get to cap off the tour with a meaningful day in DC tomorrow. Thanks for being there, Phyllis.

    Reply
    • 13. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm

      Sagesse,
      Thank you, we had a great day today.

      Reply
  • 14. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 14, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    As I said in Raleigh, Phyllis, while I know the events leading up to your joining the Tour Tracker were far from easy, and it was never easy to be away from your children, you truly did so much to honor Maureen and the love you shared by being on the front lines with us. Looking forward to seeing you again.
    Ant, you are right to have Phyllis’ back, and Arisha’s. Keep it up.
    Arisha, looking forward to your reflection piece. And it is good that you have Phyllis’ and Ant’s backs.
    To all of you. The teamwork on this whole Tour Tracker has been so obvious. There were occasional snags, but our Tour Trackers always came through. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • 15. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      Richard,
      It was a pleasure to meet you and your partner. Thank you for your commitment to the movement. You are truly the essence of an activist. Thank you for flagging me down and introducing yourself to me.

      Yes we will continue to have eachothers back…even more now.

      In Solidarity

      Reply
  • 17. Kathleen  |  August 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t know if this has already been posted:
    Op-ed piece from NYT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/opinion/15rich.html?_r=3&src=twr

    Reply
    • 18. Kathleen  |  August 14, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      The NYT Op-ed piece is the Frank Rich story. Recommended reading.

      Reply
      • 19. Paul in Minneapolis  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:09 pm

        What an excellent piece; thanks for sharing it!

        Rich referenced the “hysterical fringe” — and here’s Minnesota’s Exhibit C of the hysterical fringe (after Exhibit A Michele Barfmann and Exhibit B Tim Pawlenty) — Katherine Kersten.

        You may recall that I mentioned Kersten a few days ago. As predictable as sunrise, her column tomorrow is about Judge Walker’s decision. Not only is it full of the typical rants from the right, it employs many Kersten specialties (omission, inuendo, smoke and mirrors, and out-of-context quotes). Grab your antacids before you read this one. Unfortunately, the Star Tribune has turned off the ability to comment on this piece of sh … er, column.

        Phyllis, thank you so much for your contributions here — and during such a difficult time of your life (and your partner’s). I hope that the Kersten column I reference here gives you an even greater sense of being a part of something profound, because there are many Katherine Kerstens (and Brians/Maggies/Lewises) left in this country (and the world). Every picture you take builds a record against their sky-is-falling hysterics.

        The Prop 8 trial and the NOM tour are being followed by so many people outside of California and the states where NOM stopped. There is intense interest not only from all around the United States, but from around the globe. The other side is squawking loudly right now (Kersten is hardly the loudest), and your work (and the work of everyone at P8TT) is showing everyone history in the making. Your work is helping change minds, and that is huge. Can’t thank you enough for your important and meaningful contributions here!!!

        Reply
      • 20. Kathleen  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm

        Having finally caught up with all the emails from P8TT, I’ve been reading all the links that have been posted over the past few days.

        After an hour of reading so many tirades from the far right, especially the hysterical calls for having judges removed from the bench in various jurisdictions, I must say – All of this ranting reminds me SO much of listening to the rabid segregationists of the 50s and 60s. It’s exactly the same message, citing all the same bogus “authority”, it’s just a different group of people they’re after.

        Reply
      • 21. Joel  |  August 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

        Fascinating. The Star Tribune doesn’t want any response to Ms. Kersten’s diatribe. There is a link to her email, though, and I assume that the Star Tribune will still accept letters to the editor, unless Torquemada has finally taken over that dead tree news medium. Everybody write! I have seen more eloquence and precise writing on this blog than I have seen in any public forum in quite a while. The pen, as they say, is mightier than the sword. Let’s fill up Ms. Kersten’s in box, and inundate the editor with letters. Ms. Kersten obviously hasn’t read the trial transcripts, and has only read those parts of his decision that were fed to her. Let’s educamate her!

        Reply
    • 22. Sarah  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Uplifting; thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • 23. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    RIP Judith Dunnington Peabody.

    Reply
  • 24. couragecampaign  |  August 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    The Frank Rich column is the perfect book end to Phyllis’ story. Ms. Peabody’s mother went wherever she was needed, just as Phyllis, Arisha, Anthony, Jethro and Danny have and just as I think everyone on this P8TT blog will.

    I’m in DC now, looking forward to seeing the team and the end of NOM (I mean that. This tour was their demise. We just have to allow the world to see that.)

    On Monday, our real work begins. We’ll all be in this together until we’re all equal.

    Thanks, Phyllis!

    Rick.

    Reply
    • 25. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Rick,
      Thank you so much for the confidence you have in me. It shines through in the very fact that you sent me on this tour to photograph and document such an important event in our time.

      It is an honor to be apart of this team.

      Fired Up!

      Reply
  • 26. GraciesDaddy  |  August 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for all your efforts, Phyllis!

    S’funny: When we think we’re ready to change the world, it’s US who end up doing the changing. All the best to you and your sweet Maureen.

    Reply
    • 27. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      Yes, my thoughts exactly…Maureen and I used to say GMTA…Great Minds Think Alike. Thank you for reminding me of that!

      Reply
  • 28. Brandy  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you for doing so much for equality during this difficult time.

    Reply
  • 29. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you Brandy,
    Although it is difficult, I am still honored to be apart of this tour.

    Reply
  • 30. Jacob Ellard  |  August 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Phyllis,
    I miss you so much having gone nearly a month’s time without seeing you. When I wished that you could be here all I kept telling myself was that you were out doing something that was so important, important not just for you or for me, but important for future generations as well. You were out there fighting for equality, and putting your life in danger for what is right. You have been such an amazing influence in every aspect of my life, helping me to become much more active with my activism than ever before.
    Thank you Phyllis, for everything!!
    Jacob

    Reply
    • 31. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 15, 2010 at 8:16 am

      Welcome to the site, Jacob! Nice to meet yet another member of the P8TT family!

      Reply
    • 32. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Thank you Jacob.
      FOR EVERYTHING I really could not have done this with out your pushing and nudging me to “just do it” even when I thought I couldn’t you had the same confidence in me that Maureen did. Well Maureen thought I could fly so maybe not. But close.

      I love you. Thanks for watching my babies for me while I was gone.

      Reply
  • 33. Alan E.  |  August 15, 2010 at 12:19 am

    I will have to look at that video on my computer, but it pains me to see people like that guy who wouldn’t even shake hands of certain people. It’s very difficult to even fathom some ways of thinking (or that such people still exist), but everything anyone does for our community will hopefully not be for naught.

    Reply
    • 34. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 17, 2010 at 10:25 am

      Hello Alan,
      I share your sentiment. That is why this person stood out to me. He was filled with such anger and hate and I took offense to it because he was pretty much saying that what Maureen and I had was disgusting and God didnt honor it. Yet we were raising our kids together and paying bills and taxes like everyone else.

      Thank you for your comment

      Reply
  • 35. Felyx  |  August 15, 2010 at 5:44 am

    You know guys,

    All this time we have been reacting to NOM and its craziness… if we were to hold our own marriage tour, like a 50 state marriage tour… now that would be awesome! Our Rallies would have a nice quantity and quality and the counter-protest, if any, probably would be pathetically small.

    If Kevyn comes over anytime soon, I think I will go on a ‘across the nation’ tour with him to celebrate being together and to promote equality!!! Everyone of you would have to show up so we could meet you!

    Felyx

    Reply
    • 36. Straight Grandmother  |  August 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

      Felyx, I was wondeirng where you have been. Last night I was thinking of you, noting that you miss a day or 2 of posting. Am I right or was my mind playing tricks on me.

      Reply
      • 37. Felyx  |  August 15, 2010 at 7:12 am

        Dear Straight Grandma,

        I have been reading a few of the post but there are so many and I have been focusing on healing. I am excited by the events in CA but frankly NOM is just boring. That is why I say we should put on our own tour. Ours would be WAY more fabulous!!!

        Felyx

        Reply
      • 38. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

        So, Felyx, have you got any idea what the buses for this tour should look like? And yes, I said buses in the plural. After all, you know that when we start this tour, one bus will not be anywhere near sufficient.

        Reply
  • 39. Straight Grandmother  |  August 15, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Phyllis, not only were you at the start of something big, but you helped make it big, you Phyllis, you did that.
    I hope you get a pic of Ronnie and his mother for us. Just listen to the guy who is shouting the loudest that will probably be Ronnie.

    Reply
  • 40. Melissa Mata  |  August 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Yes!! My sister knew the front line is where you needed to be! She is sooo proud of you and so am I! I loved every word you wrote and know that she lives in us all forever! Living and breathing and ,making a difference in other lives is what she did and is what we will continue to do! Life may be different now yes but Life has so many beautiful things waiting for us all! She left us pockets of secrets, ides, and lists to do!! A beautiful full life is what all of us will continue to have, believe it ! and it will be true :)

    Reply
    • 41. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  August 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      Melissa, would I be correct in saying that you are Phyllis’ sister-in-law? I think the world of Phyllis, and I told her that being on the Tour Tracker was the best thing she could be doing to honor Maureen’s memory and the love they shared. I figure Maureen is looking down beaming on Phyllis as she goes out every day to shine the light of truth on this and to show people that we are everyday people who just want to live our lives secure in the knowledge that nobody can take our civil and legal rights away from us ever again. Welcome to the P8TT family, and I truly hope that BZ and I get to meet you. You are so very blessed.

      Reply
    • 42. Phyllis Lozano  |  August 17, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Melissa,
      Thank you for keeping me together the last month and 8 days. I know she is proud of me, I imagine hearing her voice and it is so real. I know she was on the road with me I felt her, especially when I was worried or home sick I felt her presence with me and I got small confirmations in the signs and things that people would say to me. The last month has been hard for me but I know in my heart I needed to be here, and it helped that she was with me. I love you sister friend.
      Zinger time soon!

      Reply
  • […] Reflections on the NOM tour: The front lines of loss, then equality […]

    Reply
  • 44. Chrys  |  August 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Phyllis, I met you in Harrisburg (I’m the one with the peace flag who gave you the case of Hershey bars). I was honored, truly, to meet you. Being on this tour, as difficult as it was for you (and really for all of you amazing folks who did this) means so much to me, my lady, and all of us out here. The sights and sounds and events you brought to light will be so incredibly meaningful, now and in years to come.

    As an aside, the man you gave as your worst memory was immensely sad. He arrived at the rally point very early, just after my lady and I got there, and seemed almost afraid that we might come and talk to him, despite later attempting to incite a confrontation by yelling across the street. I wonder, honestly, how that fear and hatred was instilled in him, and for what reason.

    The good part about it is that most people are beginning to realize that the reality is far different from the fears – and what you and your colleagues have been putting together is potent evidence for that.

    May all the gods bless you – we certainly do.

    Reply
  • 45. Ronnie  |  August 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    It was awesome to meet you in DC, Phyllis….My mom says hi….hope you got & enjoyed that mani & pedi & a nice massage….you really do deserve it for all you’re hard work…Thank you so much….I <3 you mucho…. ; )
    <3…Ronnie

    Reply

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