The Real Stories

I have HBO, Showtime, and the greatest invention of my lifetime—Tivo— but am a little behind the times. I finally started Season 1 of the Sopranos and have been watching an episode a night for the past week.

Last night, before my Sopranos fix I watched a 30-minute episode of the ACLU’s television series “Freedom Files.” (a 10-part series airing on Janesville’s cable access channel, JATV12) about several gay and lesbian couples across the country, one of whom is from Eau Claire.

I can hardly compare the two shows, but after watching them back to back it struck me that the real stories of gay and lesbian families have as much anxiety, love, and suspense as dramatic fiction.

It’s hard to believe hospital workers can keep a woman from being at her partner’s side as she fights cancer. It's difficult to understand why two loving parents can't both adopt their foster kids. It seems almost impossible that a man who spent years caring for his partner and his partner’s parents was forced out of his home.

I’m reminded time and time again how important it is for us to share our stories. To make them palpable for people whose lives are as far removed from ours as mine is from Tony Soprano’s. Because our stories are not fiction. They are not abstract. They are real, and people need to hear them from us. And it’s not just to win this campaign; it’s to win the respect and understanding of our neighbors, our coworkers, and our friends.

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