Great Trip North: Part IV, cont. - Eau Claire

Yesterday was both awesome and exhausting. As has been the whole trip. Exhausting because each time we have a meeting—whether it’s with just one person or a big group—we’re putting every ounce of energy we have into it, only to catch our breath and do it again. Which is exactly why it has also been awesome. Or as Lindsey would say, “AWSN!” (Action Wisconsin Speaker’s Network!)

After a rather leisurely morning at the coffee shop, we had lunch, walked around UWEC’s campus putting out postcards, and popped into the campus’s diversity center. It seems that the university has a lot of energized and active students, several of whom made it to the training that night. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the students who are actively fighting against the amendment. It takes a tremendous amount of time just to be a student— much less an active activist.

Before the training we had two meetings— both at the LGBT Community Center of the Chippewa Valley. First we had a great conversation and some laughs with Rev. George Stamm and Rev. Bruce Gardner, the interim dean at Christ Church Cathedral (where the LGBT Community Center happens to be) to discuss the Eau Claire- area clergy's involvement in the fight against the amendment. Then we had a little meet-and-greet (and some excellent nosh!) with the board of directors from the LGBT Community Center.

There, I finally got to meet Virginia and Carol. They were just as warm and kind as I'd imagined. They've been together for 30 years, which is crazy amazing. But the craziest thing is that they can't be married here. In thirty years from now I'll be 62 years old. It will be the year 2035. And I bet my partner and I will be married. For sure on a state level, but I'll optimistically say we'll be doing joint taxes together federally as well.

I was nervous about the evening's training because I was presenting a part I had never done before. But when Virginia led the whole churchful of people to sing "Happy Birthday" I darn near cried again and was reminded that this was just a group of people on the same task as me. It would be ok. And it was. Except that half way through the training all the lights in the church went out and we were left in the pitch black. We lit some candles (it was a church, after all) and Josh shone a flashlight in my face for about five minutes until the lights came back on.

Lindsey & Kris at Scooters And then on to Scooters! Lindsey and Josh were kind enough to take their tired bodies out with me to celebrate my big day. Honestly I didn't think I could even muster the energy to go out for the night, but I'm so glad I did. We met a few people there from the training, including Kris who is a new board member at the LGBT Community Center. Then we danced! And danced and danced.

What a great day, a great night, a great year, a Great Trip North.



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