Dean Speaking On:
I’d Like You to Know
Identity and Awareness
Mentoring and Support
Spirituality and Religion
Spokane in Perspective
I look forward to the day when people aren’t labeled and they don’t have to wear labels so much.
We have a young man, sophomore in high school, who does a little bit of work around the yard with us. We know his parents. He worked out in the yard last year, and he’s been working with me some this year. Today we were doing something where we were able to be talking. I asked him about, in his high school, what the conversation was about [Referendum] 74 last year. And he said, “Oh, there’s very little conversation. Everybody agrees with me, so why do we even need to have a conversation about it?” That’s pretty wonderful. It goes to show how far things have changed.
Yesterday I was looking for a document in my computer files, and I came across an outline of a presentation that I gave, that was coordinated by a student from Central Valley High School on the day before Pride. I don’t know which year it was. But it reminded me, there were a dozen kids [there]. I think two of them were gay and the rest were allies—how exciting and wonderful that is. I don’t want to take [allies] for granted, because the allies have gotten us to where we are today. Where, you know, [in] the State of Washington, the voters voted to legalize marriage. That would not have happened if it was just up to the voters who are gay and lesbian, and have gay and lesbian friends—or gay and lesbian relatives. It took a whole lot broader than that.
So, it’s not about me. It’s never been about me. It’s always been about making society a better place to live for everybody. That’s what I’m about.
One of the things about [our] wedding . . . People ask, “Is anything any different? Well, how is it different?” It was less than a week after, we were on a home garden tour. I met the homeowner. Michael was looking at something and I was talking to this guy. Michael came over and I introduced him as “my husband.” That was incredibly powerful, to be able to say that, knowing that it was true. It was true legally in the state of Washington, and it was recognized by the federal government. That was just an amazing, amazing thing. And there have been two or three other times . . . You know, our lives haven’t changed. Our daily routine hasn’t changed. But rolling over in bed and saying, “We have a piece of paper that legally recognizes us as a married male couple.” Sometimes I just get goose bumps when I think about it. Sometimes I get teary. And [I’m] looking forward to some friends getting married in a couple of weeks.
Sources: Two interviews with Maureen Nickerson [c. 2007]; transcribed by K. M. and Laura S. Hodgman; edited by Maureen Nickerson and Laura S. Hodgman; held in the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture. Interviews with Laura S. Hodgman on 25 July 2013 and 12 September 2013.