Activism saved my life. I got involved with a feminist group (of men and women working to really transform gender roles and patriarchy into a more just system). I got involved with a movement trying to end the racist Apartheid system in South Africa (you guys, it only ended in 1994!). I got involved with queer activism, with lefty groups, with all the rabble-rousers and radicals working to end the AIDS epidemic, to create a fairer economy, to win rights for immigrants, to end wars, and make the world more fun and sexy!
What I found in social justice movements was a whole life that has given me hope, inspiration, friendships, and my lover, Kate (of twenty-three years), whom I met at a queer conference. Social activism is all about optimism, even when you lose. The process of doing something about it all generates lots of adrenaline and serotonin that just make you feel better, like a sweaty dance to music you love.
Urvashi Vaid is one of the many writers, artists, and activists who contributed an original essay to It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, which will be released on March 22. You can pre-order a copy at Amazon, through ItGetsBetter.org, or at your favorite local bookstore. It Gets Better event in Seattle at Town Hall on Tuesday March 29. Tickets and info here.