All day long, something didn’t sit right with me about the last two days’ worth of posts. At first I figured it was content, as I’m notorious in my circles for being my own worst critic when it comes to writing (or anything else). However, reading a post from a fellow TU blogger made me realize what it is.
For all my complaints and self-deprecating observations, I have it pretty good. Being a straight male is certainly not without its benefits in a country that has made great strides towards equal rights in race and gender over the past several decades, but has lagged when it comes to extending the same courtesy to sexual orientation.
Gay rights are a tricky subject for a lot of us. It’s so easy to look back and be appalled at the blatant racism that our ancestors either had to deal with or doled out. It’s a lot harder, though, to do so ourselves in our modern context. It’s easy to express outrage from a distance or through the veil of a hundred years; but a lot harder to take a stand on such matters with our friends and family.
Unfortunately, too many of us are willing to excuse the discrimination and hostility our brothers and sisters face. Much of it is due to homophobia’s roots in many traditional religious observances and texts. Although we can argue context and intent, we cannot deny its presence. This is not to say that religion is a detriment or irreconcilable with accepting homosexuals as deserving of equal rights and legal protections, but we need to have a full understanding of what we’re up against.
So for all my gripes as it pertains to dating, I need to remember that none of them involve being discriminated against, scorned, or physically attacked for my pursuit of the opposite sex. I owe it to all the gay men and women to acknowledge this difficult fact. Especially those whose friendship and company have inspired confidence and provided inspiration and support in my writing, acting, and other ventures.
I won’t pretend to know the gay experience, and I won’t feign being an activist. There are far too many brave and dedicated people doing great things for me to be that brazenly insincere. Honestly, in looking at some of the reactions other bloggers have received in the past, I must ashamedly admit that I almost didn’t even publish this post.
And that’s what was bothering me. Not that I’m complaining or making observations when others have it worse off; if we adhered to such a silly rule, all life and art as we know it would come to a standstill. However, there was a story this week that made national headlines concurrent to my blog posts, and it’s deserving of our attention in light of what we’re discussing.
Which brings us to the post I mentioned earlier. It was from one of my favorite bloggers, Libby Post, who gave us an update on the Constance McMillen situation. A federal court has ruled that due to the fact that she has been an admitted and open homosexual since the 8th Grade, her school could not under any circumstances deny her the right to bring her significant other of the same sex to the prom. The post, which includes text from the court’s decision, is here.
To nitpick: I’m not one hundred percent comfortable with the language. It rules in favor of free speech, as in making a statement. However, Constance McMillen wasn’t trying to make a statement. A proud declaration, maybe, but that’s different. A statement or free speech implies a simple protest.It’s reminiscent of a point my friend Ed once made about the word “tolerance” as it pertains to its use in things like racial sensitivity training. To say that you tolerate something isn’t to say that you embrace it. You tolerate the existence of a lot of things you actively hate and dislike; to truly change minds and attitudes, it takes more than tolerance.
Constance was simply trying to be herself. Saying that her being prohibited to take her girlfriend to prom is not a violation of her free speech, it’s a violation of her very nature. It doesn’t merely take away her opportunity to express an opinion or belief, it strips her of her dignity and basic human rights.
The wording used in Constitutional law notwithstanding, it’s still a step in the right direction. Constance gets to take her date to the prom and be recognized by her school and her peers as something she’s always wanted to be – a teenager and a human being.
Congratulations, Constance, and thank you Libby for putting things in perspective.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
- Listen to me LIVE as guest co-host of Alternative to Sleeping tonight at 10pm!
- Realtors: “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” George Hearst III: “NONONOO SSSSHHH IT’S OKAY, it’s okay…here. Here’s a pacifier.” Kristi: “#oops.”
- Open Mic web series premiere tonight @ Lark Tavern
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