The Elephant in the room
Here I am again. My stomach is killing me. I’m struggling to block out the emotions that are, overwhelming and hurtful.
This is our second court case in this fucking town. The question on the table? Defamation, slander and the first amendment. The first amendment only came up because the defendants are saying they are allowed to say whatever is on their mind and since it’s their opinion they shouldn’t be punished.
I have learned over the years, as a black woman who has a liking for other women, I don’t actually get the luxury of having these types of rights in this country. And please don’t try to argue with me on this. I have also learned that people who argue the first amendment right around freedom of speech don’t actually understand that with that right, that privilege comes responsibility. However, in this age of digital shit talking, this apparently is not as important as it is to have whatever verbal vomit coming spewing out be heard.
Walking into court, those people, the ones we are fighting against, stood outside. If I didn’t know any better, it looked like a rally for the clansmen. The men puffing out their chests, talking over each other, the women boosting their men up, stirring the pot so that it doesn’t boil over. As I walked to the door to get in with my lawyer and partner, they all stopped. They looked over, sneering at us. I hear mumbles. Our lawyer pushes us in the door.
Going through security, the guard looks me up and down. I can tell he has his own opinions, yet says nothing. We walk into a quiet room to regroup. My thoughts and emotions are all over the place as I know this will not go well. It will be in the favor of the defendants because as much as people say they are open and accepting, in this town they are not. The confederate flag flies over several houses down here. Should have been a sign, but I obviously wasn’t thinking.
Our lawyer taps his watch, we get up and begin moving towards the courtroom. Coming around the corner, the lobby is packed. People are cramming into the courtroom to watch our demise. For months now, people have been sharing their opinions on what should happen to us, what has happened to us (true and mostly untrue) but it fits their story so it makes for good online stories. Walking into the court room, we find our seats at the front. I can hear people whispering things about us, awful things. As we get comfortable, I notice that people are standing up against the wall, there are people still out in the lobby and yet the two benches behind us are, empty.
My lotion must smell pretty strong today.
It’s interesting that people would rather stand against the wall when there is plenty of seating. I see familiar faces, ones that I know are in support of us. They stand in the crowd for the defendants. This is not the place to stand out. The fear of having the lynch mob turn away from us is very real.
For two hours, the judge went after our lawyer. The defendant’s lawyer lied in ways that I didn’t even think you could. He lied about about money, he lied about our experiences and he lied about what the first amendment stood for. He did say one thing that was right tho, we were not welcomed in this community, for the various reasons he listed.
The judges main concern was the elephant in the room. That elephant being if I was in a relationship with the woman I sat next to. I’m not sure what it had to do with the case as a whole, but the judge was fiend and he was not going to stop until he tasted blood.
Our lawyer sat in shock. You could see that he was trying to understand why this was important. He shrugged and asked the importance. The judge pushed back and saying it was the most important part. Our lawyer again asked why a relationship has anything to do with a defamation case. The judge stared. Our lawyer backed down, nodding.
The word “disgusting” could be heard.
I braced myself for yet another beating. The judge went after it. He voiced his opinion. He told my partner that she was just as crooked as Hillary Clinton and that while she has never been thrown in jail, she should have been. Just as my partner should have been. It’s important to note that there was no justification for this. As he was saying this, the crowd was clapping and small cheers.
The judge then went onto say that since we were tarred and feathered and run out of town previously, the same should be happening in this town and he’s surprised the town isn’t more up in arms. He also said, which is probably my favorite part, that when people post online, when they post, if they feel it is true, it is in fact TRUE. No fact checking is needed. Sound familiar? Also, things that are posted online don’t actually affect peoples real life, so our claim that we can’t find jobs because of what has been written about us is all in our heads.
We just need to grow thicker skin.
We are not welcomed in this community.
The courtroom cheers, justice has prevailed in their eyes.
As we walk out of the courtroom, the comments thrown at us sear my skin. My head is down. The newspaper cameras are trying to catch our faces. A guard points to the back door. People are excited.
Who does she think she is with that black woman?
Who do I think I am fighting the system? I’m just a black lesbian. I know better to think I have a voice.
But I really can’t be mad that I was once again reminded to stay in my lane.
After all, this is what making America Great again looks like.
P.S. The appeal was filed at 9am the next morning. This fight is not over.