Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Social rant

There was a lot of stuff going around on Facebook within the last week about National Gay and Lesbian Coming out day, which was the 11th, including 'donating your status' by putting in a quote like this:
" (Your name) is a straight ally and today is National Coming Out Day. I'm coming out for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality because it's 2010 and you can still be fired from your job in 29 states for being lesbian, gay or bisexual and in 38 states for being transgender. Donate your status and join me by clicking here:"

I never did it because I didn't want to provoke or instigate controversy among the very many conservatives I grew up with and are on my friends' list (and who are by the whole more conservative than those at Wheaton, who are in turn more conservative than my Roosevelt friends, and now I've somehow landed myself in the Bible belt). But I very much wanted to. And I'm certainly not ashamed of what I think and believe, it's just that I had-and still have-very little energy to expend on a 'why or why not I think God/Jesus would be okay with it' argument, or get into the very many reasons why I believe 100% that gay marriage should be legal' which would only lead to the 'don't you realize you're bordering on severe hypocrisy by what you're saying' conversation.

But this article (via wise Molly at Fantasy Magazine!) broke my heart a little today, enough to make me put down the short I was working on and write out my thoughts. (And also, because this is my blog, and I can say what I want.) As harsh as Dan Savage's words sound, he is right, I believe. What he says is true, true, true.

The kids of people who see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality—even if those people strive to express their bigotry in the politest possible way (at least when they happen to be addressing a gay person)—learn to see gay people as sinful, damaged, disordered, and unworthy. And while there may not be any gay adults or couples where you live, or at your church, or in your workplace, I promise you that there are gay and lesbian children in your schools. And while you can only attack gays and lesbians at the ballot box, nice and impersonally, your children have the option of attacking actual gays and lesbians, in person, in real time.

Real gay and lesbian children. Not political abstractions, not “sinners.” Gay and lesbian children.

I have the right to say this, I think, because I've lived this perspective of the questioner in that link, for too many years. I've been on that side that see gay people as sinful or damaged or disordered, no matter how politely so, because I didn't really learn to think for myself until after undergrad. And even then, it didn't sink in until I was 21 and in grad school, and one my dearest, dearest friends--my first real 'out' friend, I suppose--looked at me and said, "Do you think I want to be gay? Do you think that I would choose this?"

It blew me away. And I'll never forget it. Even now, I'm fully aware I don't know quite what it's like to experience that side of life, to deal with that kind of oppression and repression, and it grieves me to know that this is even an issue, because it's just so simple.

God is love. And truth, to face what you may not understand, because you've never been there. He's not hate, bigotry, and certainly not 'your sexual preference is wrong and mine is right because I'm saved.'

End of rant.

Oh, and one last note: this is great news for our country. Hopefully the ludicrous and fearful worries of the ignorant will be ignored. This is a good start.


krista said...

i saw all of my straight fb friends "donating their status" and it bothered me. i felt they are doing it because it was a hot topic, and it would "look good" socially to donate your status online. what does that actually do? did $ go for supporting gay rights?

regardless of what i believe, i didn't want to post on facebook online because if i'm going to do something that supports rights, i need to donate my time or money to the cause.

i dunno.

thanks for sharing, erin!

Erin Stocks said...

Yeah, I thought that, too - what good is 'donating my status' when what I really need to do is educate myself and other people. Wouldn't that be better than posting my opinions on facebook?

So I posted them here, instead. :)

David Steffen said...

I've never understood why anyone would oppose gay relationships. If person A loves person B, and both are consenting adults, then what business is it of mine?

I've met a couple people, one in particular, who I otherwise consider to be rational and likeable, except on the topic of gay marriage. This person does not say that homosexuality is sinful or immoral, but that gay marriage is "damaging to the institution of marriage" by blurring the definition of what a marriage is--that the core point of any marriage must be the function of procreation. And therefore any couple who cannot produce offspring is therefore not a marriage.

The trouble I have with this is that "marriage" is very much a social construction: it is what we say it is. So I find it hard to believe that any social structure can have a single inarguable definition.

And this particular definition is particularly problematic, because if it were accepted it invalidates quite a few broad categories of marriages:
-gay couples
-couples where one or the other is infertile, due to any cause, any women past menopause or who've had histerectomies, and a variety of other causes
-couples who simply choose not to have children.

And this bothers me that it's all based on the assumption that procreating fast and in great numbers is our responsibility, while I have trouble seeing that as anything but speeding us toward the point of unsustainable population.

Erin Stocks said...

Wow, that's one I haven't heard - procreation as an argument. That's one of the most illogical arguments possible.

"I've never understood why anyone would oppose gay relationships. If person A loves person B, and both are consenting adults, then what business is it of mine?"

Exactly. Who am I to try and tell someone how they should live their life? Especially if I'm not in the same situation, and cannot possibly identify or have any validity in the argument. And really, that doesn't even matter in the long run, either.