Aisha Tyler knows about the perils of trying to insist on marriage equality in our society. She is married to a white man, and that has caused her some difficulty in some places she has lived.
"When my husband and I were dating and living in Oakland, we used to get chased down the street," Tyler said last year. "This was 20 years ago, not in the '50s."
Tyler described how moving into a more accepting community brought a tremendous relief to her and her husband. They moved to San Francisco after an experience in the gay community there.
"We came into the city on Pride Weekend, and were walking out of the Castro Muni station, when some seven-foot-tall gorgeous thing came running by in a thong, platforms and a headdress," she shared. "Nobody even blinked an eye. I thought, 'Ain't nobody going to look at us over here!'"
Ever since then, Aisha Tyler has been a huge supporter of marriage equality for all. As a result, she was honored at the West Coast Liberty Awards last week. Tyler's speech at that event has gone viral.
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) April 23, 2015
Tyler speaks of the bravery that it takes to be yourself in a society that seems bent on denying you that right.
"I am here because I believe in love, in all its magical and transformative forms. I believe in freedom. The freedom to be the architect of our own destinies. The uniquely American principle that we all deserve to pursue happiness, in our own specific and personal way. I believe in bravery. The bravery to live one’s truth, no matter how terrifying, no matter how vilified. The bravery to choose how we will define ourselves, and to never let others do it for us. I believe in strength, the strength to fight for what is right, for oneself, and for others, even when one doesn’t feel particularly strong or particularly brave."
Like so many before her, Tyler's words took on the language of the Civil Rights Era activists who fought for equality for her.
"I believe in the slow, unstoppable, inevitable march to freedom. The march we are all making, together, hand in hand, climbing upon the backs of so many others who have come before, who have fought, and screamed, and cried, and died, so that we can all be here tonight on the precipice of an extraordinary moment in our history — a moment when people around the world are still fighting, and voting, and crying, and dying to make sure that all human beings live with dignity, respect, and the most basic of human rights, liberty. We have all fought so that people of color, and women, and interracial couples, and gays and so many others can live a life free from enslavement, coercion, restriction, or judgement. A life filled with freedom, filled with choice, filled with possibility, filled with love."
— Victor Diaz (@VictorDiaz302) October 6, 2012
"I believe in love. I believe it is worth fighting for. This is what I am fighting for. This is what we are all fighting for. Thank you Lambda for this honor, but respectfully, it’s not for me. It’s for everyone of us. Never stop believing. Never stop working. Never stop fighting. Thank you."
http://t.co/ZdVQHmFc Jeff Tietjens Bio and Picture - Zimbio
— Christine Valine (@christivalinet) March 22, 2012