I slept in the van last night, right in downtown Vancouver. When I awoke, I headed to Davie Street, the gay district, and was able to do three street interviews. The first interview was with a gay man who had just emigrated to Canada from the United States. He came up north to live a better life, with healthcare and equal marriage rights. The second interview was with a heterosexual couple, both born and raised in Canada. They didn’t understand why LGBT people are treated like second-class citizens in the US. The third interviewee was a young Vancouver woman who told me to send the gays to Canada where “everyone is welcome!”
I left Vancouver around noon and headed back to the states. Crossing the border was a breeze. I expected to be searched, as I am driving a big white van with no windows. I don’t have any problem with being searched at the national border, it is legal and constitutional. However, when I got to the border, the guard just asked me what I was doing in Canada. He asked what was in the van and how much money I had with me. Then he told me to “stay cool” and waved me along, never asking to look in the van.
After entering the US, I headed back down to Seattle to interview my friend Josh Friedes, the Advocacy Director for Equal Rights Washington (ERW). Josh is taking a leave of absence from ERW to head up the campaign to protect Domestic Partnerships in the state. He is now the Campaign Director for Washington Families Standing Together. I never got a chance to interview Josh while I was in town earlier, he was so busy with dealing with the signature deadline.
My interview with Josh was incredible. He has an eloquent way of making the case for equal rights. He described the process by which the Domestic Partnership legislation came to pass and is now being challenged. We talked about the importance of LGBT folks telling their stories and how to win, we need to be having conversation about our lives. Josh thinks that if Referendum 71 goes on the ballot, it could actually work in our favor. It will cause the LGBT community to have discussions about our families and why we need protections and, in turn, convince the citizens of Washington to support full marriage equality.
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(This video was taken with the ‘behind-the-scenes’ blog camera and is not the actual footage for the documentary.)