Alex discusses the Marriage Equality hoopla and her fight with Sonja.
Holy mother of marching. I still don’t know what happened on September 26, 2010. Well, here’s what I do know. Equal rights to marry is something I am rabidly passionate about for a few reasons -- partially due to my upbringing, but mainly simple fairness.
Simon and I had been asked by a friend to join the Marriage Equality March committee during the summer. We’d said we would be happy to do whatever they needed, and I suggested that I ask all the girls to march and wear wedding dresses. I was thrilled to get the final invitation and see that Jill and Sonja had joined up to the committee as well, plus LuAnn and Kelly had agreed to attend. Ramona didn’t get there, but my best friend Rod from Northwestern, his hubby Lindel, and their son as well as our friends Ed and Joe, all came out to march.
Some weird things had happened in the days before the march -– I arranged for all the ladies to get ready at a 5th Avenue salon, but was told that Sonja preferred that not happen, that we go to her house. I said fine; didn’t think much of it. Saturday morning, we heard that there had been some midnight phone calls the night before which Simon and I hadn’t been privy to. I was genuinely pleased for Sonja that MENY created a Grand Marshal role for her; it made her feel special, and I like my friends feeling special. Very cool –- no issues. It seemed like there was an inordinate amount of “me, me, me” going on while we got ready, but sometimes that happens among friends and you try to let it go.
Everything happened very quickly after that. We got to the speakers' holding area at City Hall and met up with Simon, where he and I realized that something bigger had happened, which totally changed the plan set back in July. We were both shocked. Neither of us wanted to be the center of attention nor did we think it was “our day,” and we couldn’t believe that someone would act as Sonja did. This was not a day about straight people. We got upset about her adolescent and unfair behavior, but tried our hardest to rein it in because ultimately it didn’t matter who spoke, it mattered that everyone marched for Marriage Equality.
In the midst of the madness, Jill Zarin arrived. All animosity between us aside, I was really happy when she showed up, because I knew she could do it. No clue how “I’m glad you’re here” translates into picking on Jill. Just because she said I was picking on her doesn’t mean I actually was; if I walk outside on a sunny day and say “Please make this blizzard stop,” that doesn’t mean it’s snowing. When she whines that people pick on her, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I don’t think I was picking on her at the time, over the years I’ve gotten so sick of her game that my lack of tolerance for her nonsense may come across as picking. Or, she picked up on my mood from the Sonja drama and thought I was directing it at her. Oh well. I was genuinely happy that she "walked the walk" that day, and we agreed that when she returned from Australia, we’d sit down one-on-one and have a conversation.
I didn’t say a word about the march drama during the wedding reception at our house, though I did want to hear Simon’s speech. As Sonja left our house, I suggested we get together over champagne soon, and she agreed. I also wasn’t going to say a word to her on the third day post-march at the Gucci event or the fourth day at the art unveiling with Brian. Although I did download Ramona at the Gucci dinner so she understood why I didn’t want to sit with Sonja, my intent was to have a lunch with her privately and iron things out. Sonja and I are friends, and friends don’t bail on the relationship because of one crazy thing that happens. When I arrived at her house, I was blown away that Sonja brought up MENY in her hallway, removed from the guests but still within earshot.
The conversation should not have started then, and that is where I made my biggest mistake. I should have said “We’re not going to agree on this, so let’s not do this now. This is your night and Brian’s night, and if we can’t be together without discussing Marriage Equality, I’ll leave you to your guests and we’ll get together tomorrow.” That would have been the rational thing to do. Instead, when Sonja pretended she didn’t know my husband’s name, I saw red and charged like a bull. When she wouldn’t listen to me, I got even angrier. Although there was good reason to be upset, I didn’t need to take the bait at the art party. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Tonight, Simon and I are hosting a benefit viewing of this episode for Marriage Equality New York, and hope to raise more awareness for the cause. There’s still quite a bit of work to be done, and we’re going to be part of this fight until our LGBT friends have the legal right to marry the one person whom they love. We’ll be wearing our Thug in a Cocktail Dress t-shirts!
For Simon’s take on this episode, please visit his blog, and for a deeper dive into why Simon and I feel the way we do about equal marriage rights, check out our recent conversation with Sandy Chase. To find fashion information for the episode (and a picture from our wedding!) go here. See you next week, and if you want to find out more about us, follow us on Facebook and Simon’s and my Twitter feeds.