WINDOW ROCK, Navajo Nation — Gay marriage advocate Alray Nelson blasted Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way” in his battered Lexus several times on the long Arizona road to Tuba City, to give testimony at a hearing on violence and discrimination against gay Navajos.
“You’re on the right track, baby. You were born this way,” sang Nelson, adding that the pop lyrics are a kind of anthem for his movement to demand a reversal of a gay marriage ban he says is tantamount to respect from the tribal government.
But it is not an easy task Nelson faces as he carries on his campaign to persuade the Navajo Nation to accept gay marriage. Unlike gay-rights activists off the reservation, who are fighting to legalize same-sex unions, Nelson must counter not only the opposition of social conservatives, but also a frought discussion on Navajo spiritualism and his own checkered past.