By Alyssa Shapiro
Part of celebrating Pride is remembering the progress that’s been made. Here are the collective memories of Caleb Boyles, Harper Watters, River Gallo, Soko, Eva Reign, and Jared Egusa—each of whom collaborated with Youth To The People for our With Pride campaign—around a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court, a victory dubbed Love Wins.
LOVE WINS IN THE SUPREME COURT
When did you first hear about the ruling?
“I remember the day this passed very clearly. I was not yet out and I was on a break from college visiting my family at home in North Carolina. I was hanging out with a friend at the time and he read the news off of his phone when I heard it had passed for the first time. His tone was in slight disgust when he read the headline of the article out loud and my response to him was quietly hopeful. We agreed to disagree and the moment moved on.” — Caleb Boyles, illustrator
“I was 22, I was in the corp of the ballet company. Houston Pride seems to always fall on the same day as one of our shows. We were performing Swan Lake in an afternoon show, and you sometimes can hear an occasional siren or street noise, but on this day all of sudden you heard booming cheers and applause during Act 1. It was a little disorienting, but during the intermission news spread fast through the building about the ruling.” — Harper Watters, soloist with the Houston Ballet
“I had recently turned 19 just a week beforehand, and I was figuring out what direction to take my life. My first year of college was pretty brutal for numerous reasons. My main struggle was feeling unsafe on campus to transition.” — Eva Reign, artist, actress, writer
How did you celebrate, if you did?
“I guess I technically celebrated by dancing because I had to go back out onstage and finish the ballet! I definitely had a little extra flare in my steps knowing the incredible victory that had just taken place.” — Harper Watters
“I did a victory twerk.” — River Gallo, filmmaker
“I don't really remember much about it other than thinking, about fucking time!” — Soko, musician
What impact did the ruling have on you?
“I was overjoyed. I always dreamt of getting married.” — River Gallo
“It felt like it was a massive win for the community and I was stoked that people who were finally given the right to love who they love, legally! I had never really thought about getting married then, either to a man or a woman. At the time, it didn't feel like it would necessarily affect my future. But years later, now that I have a family with my partner, I feel so grateful that this is the new normal and that we have the same rights as everyone else and that we can run off to Vegas and get married if and when we want to! (Probably not in Vegas though!! Haha, more like the south of France!)” — Soko
“It definitely made me rethink and reevaluate how I was using my platform and just my overall involvement with political issues. Leading up to this moment was probably the most interaction I had had with politics and everything that comes with it. The people I followed on social media, my friends at work, my age at the time, it felt super close to home because, no matter the ruling, it directly affected me.” — Harper Watters
“I really didn’t keep tabs on LGBTQ news or the community as a whole. Not that it didn’t feel applicable to me, but, I guess to be honest it didn’t in a way. It just seemed like a move in the right direction for everyone.” — Jared Egusa, artist
“It would be a little under a year from this moment that I actually come out to my family and friends. This was a day I silently celebrated this news with myself, and this was one of the biggest moments of me realizing I needed to live outwardly and boldly. When I returned to school in the fall I began opening up to my friends at college who supported me in the best ways possible.” — Caleb Boyles
What, if anything, has stayed with you about this event? How has time changed your perspective?
“I remember the white house being lit in rainbow lights and how beautiful it was.” — River Gallo
“The trans panic defense is still legal in 40 states. This defense strategy excuses lethal and violent behavior in the court of law because the assailant became scared by their own attraction to a trans or queer person. This defense has been used a myriad of times to pardon the murderers of Black trans women. Trans panic defense must be banned nationwide. That should be a top priority of the LGBTQ+ community as whole. I was grateful to the countless activists who fought to legalize same-sex marriage, but I knew that it would only have so much of an impact on my life as a trans woman. While I had only told my truth to so many people at the time, I knew there was a lot ahead of me in my journey. I wondered if trans rights would come next, and today I have those thoughts. When will come the time for masses of people to support trans people’s right to live?” — Eva Reign
“I look back and I think OF COURSE THIS WAS HUGE. But also, how could people think that youʼre not allowed to marry someone just because of their sex? Iʼm both proud we keep trying to attain equality and supremely disappointed it doesnʼt exist in the first place.” — Jared Egusa