On November 4, 2008, a California Ballot Proposition entitled Proposition 8 passed in the general election. In short, it changed the California Constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. It was a move that crippled the Gay Right’s movement in America, but also a moment that brought a diverse group of passionate people together on both sides of the issue to fight for or against gay marriage.
It was in this charged atmosphere that an email chain began that has since changed the history of my inbox. Though it started out as a general “chain” letter, in over nine months, the 24 members CC’ed on the missives, with the simple subject line of “Prop 8,” have used the unique forum to discuss everything from politics to sex, to fashion, to Christmas plans. To be honest, at the beginning, I only recognized half of the email addresses, which included a strange amalgam of fashionistas, editors, downtown kids, artists, and DJs (and a disproportionately large number of BlackBook staffers). At the beginning, notes were flying back and forth at the rate of over 400 a day. To date, the grand total of emails exchanged stands well over 10,000.
Totally organic, the letters felt like something out of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, exploratory feelers that challenged us to find common ground. It was a bizarre, yet touching way to connect with people I barely knew–everything felt safe and nothing was off limits. Seventh House’s Matt Kays invited us to his DJ gigs, Archetype’s Steven Rojas injected daily witticisms, and B.East’s Sydney Racquel Reising was always up for a drink.
Last week, BlackBook’s Cayte Grieve decided to take the chain brick and mortar, with a special “Prop 8” party at ‘wichcraft. It was a surreal experience, meeting a group of people off the Internet with no explicit sex implied. But in the end, dining from the pre-fixe menu that included fluke ceviche, blackened beef short-ribs, and a marinated eggplant and goat cheese panini (with copious amounts of Sauvignon Blanc), we realized in our own way, we were just as proactive as the Mormon church in raising awareness–after all, it was all about love and not hate.
A typical day for Prop8ers…
BlackBook Crew: Garret Pruter, Nick Haramis, and Cayte Grieve
Boys, Boys, Boys: Mark Holcomb, Steven Rojas, Dylan Peckenpaugh, and a shy Matt Kays