Activist Sees the World in Color for the First Time with Enchroma Glasses
Occurred on July 8, 2016 / Palomar Mountain, California, USA
Info from Licensor: "I am red/green colorblind. It was a real bummer when I was a kid and found out I couldn't be a pilot... which was my dream. Over the years I have tried different things that are supposed to help colorblind people to see color better but none have ever worked, so I wasn't expecting the Enchroma glasses to work either. In July, 2016 I saw a news report about the Enchroma glasses on Facebook. I shared the video and said that I'd love to get the glasses someday. I'm in school full-time right now and can't afford them myself. The next day I woke up and saw that a friend of mine had created a GoFundMe page to raise the money to buy the glasses for me as a way for the LGBT community to thank me for the work I've done as an activist for LGBT causes.
I grew up and went to high school in a small town in central MA. I came out when I was 14, in 1996. In my teens and 20's I did a lot of activism work for LGBT rights. LGBT activism was my passion and my job for a while. It was amazing. I got to work on securing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in MA back when gay marriage wasn't legal anywhere in the US. We won in MA and were the only state with marriage equality for a few years but soon enough a few other states passed laws and then, of course, the supreme court ruling in 2015.
In 2009, I spent 109 days in a van on the road traveling through all the lower 48 states to gather stories from all different aspects of LGBT America. I made a documentary and wanted the country at large to see that gays and lesbians live in big cities and small towns, blue states and red states, all over this country and that we are just regular Americans who wanted to be treated fairly and deserve equal treatment under the law. It was such an incredible experience.
I mention this LGBT activism work because it relates to how I ended up with my Enchroma glasses. When my friend created the GoFundMe page to raise the money for me to buy the glasses, he wrote:
'Chris Mason is one of the most colorful people we know. He has done so much for all of us in the LGBTQ community! Unfortunately, Chris has never been able to see the colors green and red!
One of his favorite things to do is be in nature surrounded by trees!
His favorite color is green and he doesn't even know it!!!
Let's help him buy some of these amazing new glasses that help people like Chris see the world in color. Thank you very much"
In two days they raised enough for me to buy the glasses. It was amazing. People were thanking me for my LGBT activist work and telling me they donated so that I could finally see the rainbow flag in all its glory. That's why I am wearing the rainbow flag shirt in my video; as a thank you back to the LGBT community for the donations and the gift of color. When the glasses arrived, a friend and I drove up into the mountains so that I could try them on for the first time. I made a video of me putting them on for the first time to show all the people that donated so that I could buy them.
I supposed my reaction to the glasses is so strong because I did not really believe that they would work or that if they did work, it would have little effect. The change in color was instantaneous and dramatic. The trees went from their usual brownish color to GREEN. My backpack went from its usual brownish color to RED. I was really blown away (and still am) by all the different shades of green found in nature. I was really shocked, surprised, and completely taken aback by the colors.
I still wear my Enchroma sunglasses every single day. I don't walk down the street screaming like I did in the video, but almost daily I still will stop and stare at a tree or bush or flowers that really stand out, especially when the sun hits them in a way that I haven't seen and it brings out the color all over again."