Hawaii has always been one of the most diverse and most accepting places I have ever witnessed. With cultures and races not only celebrating their own unique traditions, but taking part in each other’s traditions as well, I have always been in amazement at the way the people in these islands always seem to come to love and adopt one another.
Hanai (hah-nie) is the literal translation for "adopt" and in olden times adoption was done without paperwork or legal stance. It was an agreement between parents, grandparents, aunties or uncles, that involved giving a child opportunity and in the end “no one loses”. Hapa (hah-paw) is the literal translation for mixed blood. With so many different lines of blood running through these islands it’s only natural that it would fuse. And the result is beautiful people. Beautiful people who blend together, that look nothing alike at all but everything alike all together. My own daughter is a fusion of Scottish, German, Welsh, Black and Filipino, with a splash of Chinese and Spanish. (I think there might be more… but I have yet to get hard-core about the genealogy.) All of these people together, the hanai’d and the hapa’d, the locals and the tourists, the legit culture brought here from thousands of miles away… the people blowing across the ocean on their way to wherever… it all can really take my breath away.
So I was really surprised that when gay marriage was passed here at the end of October, that there was such an upheaval against it! For not only does Hawaii have all different kinds of people with all different beliefs and cultures, but Hawaii is a great place to be gay! Or at least so I thought…
I myself have always thought that being gay dated all the way back to ancient times… since the beginning of man. I don’t believe it’s a sin and when I first encountered gay life here it struck me as very open and accepting, compared to the mainland where “faggot” really is something that you say to hurt someone. Or if you are stuck in a hick town, you might even get murdered. In Honolulu with parades and gay bars way before there time I found it fascinating to watch the mahu’s (transvestites) stroll Waikiki late at night. All dressed up with someplace to go. I have never found gay people offensive.
And over time I have come to know many, not just a few gay people whom I adore. These are people that I work with side by side, saving lives in an Emergency Room that does not discriminate if you are gay… people who I would trust with my life. Friends that I call when I need advice, or help or just want to say hi. And it never crosses my mind that they are living in sin and that it should be decided by our shitty ass government, for the sake of none other than “religion”, that they cannot or do not deserve to be equal to me. That they should not have the rights to insurance and benefits and dying wishes, because they love someone of the same-sex. WTF is that?
That my friends, is an atrocity.
It took an extra month, thousands of testimonies both for and against gay marriage, with rainbows flying high and on the opposite side people yelling that marraige is "sanctioned between a man and a woman!". It was really upsetting to see... really. The hypocrisy out in the street like that. But thankfully the bill was still passed, making Hawaii the 15thstate to legalize same-sex marriage. Senator Neil Ambercrombie stated to all the protestors, the ones standing outside the proceedings, yelling “Let the People Decide!” that “It is a matter of what is the right thing to do… back when people were fighting to uphold segregation, should it have been upheld just because it was a majority vote?”
I am proud to have had those words spoken on behalf of my friends. I am annoyed with the people who believe that they have a right to say how someone can love. I am patient to watch and see how things play out. I think that with a little time and the bottomless well of aloha here in Hawaii, that soon, the ignorance will be peeled from people’s eyes and that same-sex marriage will add the equality that should never have been illegal in the first place. I look forward to many weddings, both gay and straight and hopefully that will lead to many hapa, hanai’d little babies too!
It’s about love. It’s about the right thing to do.