Do you really support your gay friends?

7 Mar

After recently reading an article that sparked a lengthy and diverse series of comments, I began asking myself a question I hadn’t pondered for a long time – do you really support your gay friends? I began thinking of it after an exchange with a particular person in which a semantically different, but still same as ever type of statement came out – and you know what it is – I have a lot of gay friends, I have nothing against gays. I just don’t think they should be able to get married or adopt children. Is that really supportive of your gay friends and possibly family.

Over the years I have gone round and round in any manner of debates over issues regarding gays, but it usually devolves to one side being able to come up with anything better than “that’s just how it was in my day” or worst of all. “God said….” Fortunately, God was busy tending to Tim Tebow’s ego or something and did not appear this time, but the whole thing about generational differences and what I’ve survived makes me believe.. did show up. This is why that irks me.

People can, and do change. My father for instance was a depression era child meaning he remembered it vividly having been born in the 1920’s. He was raised strict Roman Catholic, as was I, and homosexuality was not something that was accepted. Transsexuality – forget about it! None of that played in his world. He wasn’t violent about, he just didn’t accept it. He also did not accept belittling, slurring or otherwise doing anything to make their lives more difficult – aside from mine I can only assume. I came out many times over, beginning when I was very young – kindergarten at least. I knew how I felt inside. I had no idea it was seen as wrong by many. I didn’t know it was different. I didn’t even know what it was called. I just knew that on some level it was what seemed right for me.

Psychotherapy? Did it. Religious counseling? Been there. Bible camp that turned out to be more of a reparative therapy camp for gay kids? Done it. Twice. Obviously none of it worked, because here I am decades later a lesbian transsexual woman. Neither God, drugs nor Freud changed that. I am who I am because of the way I was wired at birth. I accept that. Life would have been easier for sure had I not been wired that way, but easier doesn’t necessarily mean better.

After years of battles with my father, as my mom had passed at this point, on his deathbed, my father told me something I will never forget that changed my life. “If you want to make me happy and honor me, you will do whatever it is you need to in order to live a happy life. Whatever that is and with whoever that is.” Sure, it took holding hands with mortality to reach that point, but he did. That was the point I realized people can change no matter what generation they are from or how they were raised. All he wanted was for me to be happy, and if being a gay transwoman was what it was going to take the so be it.

Over the years, I’ve had many friends that have come and gone. Being gay has cost me more relationships than I may ever be able to count – and I’m okay with that even though it is depressing. I’m not sure if it is more depressing to lose friendships or that I can write them off so easily now. I’ve never, that I can recall, lost a friendship with someone that I may disagree with about LGBT issues so long as our disagreements are based on an intelligent debate of facts. Admittedly, I don’t have much room for spiritual faith. I am a scientist by trade. I believe in evidence. Give me data. Give me logic. Maybe that is why “The Bible says…” arguments tune me out so quickly now. When a discussion devolves to that there is no discussion to be had really.

In the same light, debates, like one I just encountered, where the only reason a person can provide for gays not being parents is that we might raise our children to be gay, I just shake my head. I was raised by very heterosexual people, yet I’m gay. So are countless gay people. Similarly, I know heterosexual kids raised by gay parents at a ratio of at least 20:1. Environment can influence some factors, but not sexual preference. Would we stop heterosexual people from procreating because some of those kids will be gay? Of course not – and we can definitively prove a certain percentage of heterosexual births will produce a homosexual offspring. Why is no one railing against that? Because it is as absurd as saying gay parents raise their children to be gay.

Because scenes like this are..dangerous? Really?

Another issue that arose, from a person that admittedly has never been to a Pride parade or event, is that pride is gays flaunting their sexuality and it does us no favors in the eyes of the rest of the world. It seems odd that someone that has never experienced something can be so authoritative on the subject. You’ve heard the argument – it’s all about the sex! You make gay all about the sex! You force us to have to face  the gay sex!

I’ve been to many Prides. I have seen some sex on the sly at a few. Nothing too major. I’ve also been to St. Patrick’s Day parades and witnessed drunken sex on the hood of a car right downtown. The cops let them finish before hauling them off. Very nice of them. I watched people at Mardi Gras getting head and laid up against walls, in port-a-johns, between cars, and right out in the open on the parade strip. Why is no one railing against those festivities? Is just about the sex…or is it just about the GAY sex.

Gay people are not all about the sex – not in any greater proportion than heterosexual people are. We deal with that mentality though because every time some bill reaches the floor, some minister pops off or anyone in general that wants to make a case for why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry or let’s be honest here – be treated as equal human beings – they always drag in that “Adam and Steve can’t make a baby.” “Lesbians can’t make a baby without a baster.” Then they often have to pepper it with words like “unnatural”, “sinful”, “animalistic’ or my favorite – “disgusting.” If they left the sex out of it to begin with, we gays wouldn’t have to defend ourselves against that. But oh once we do…”There you are – pushing your sexuality in our face!” It’s an argument that treads water in a sea of retarded mentality. It makes no more sense than being called intolerant because  you point out to a person they them self are being intolerant and you are not tolerating their intolerance.

Finally, how can one espouse to be a “live and let live” person, but arbitrarily dictate how others should live? I say this specifically in regard to marriage. I don’t buy into all this separate but equal stuff. There is equality or there is not. I see marriage as a legal contract that only has religious connections if the couple chooses it to. At the end of the day, that’s what marriage is. You can’t have your priest legally dissolve a marriage to the satisfaction of the government. There is no arguing that. To say that you support the rights of gays, but not the marriage thing because it is only a man and woman thing with no actual legal reasoning to disqualify those people that can withstand judiciary review, you have no argument.

Keep this in mind – in the lifetime of many people that will read this, three significant changes to marriage bonds have been seen that people honestly believed would lead to the destruction of marriage and bring down the apocalypse. Interracial marriages were legalized. That was fought tooth and nail, yet it became law and here we are still spinning on this orb. Life is going on. Married women were allowed to have credit without the consent of their husband. I remember for years after this happened men bemoaning how they had less control over their wives. Still, people continued to marry, life went on. No one even thinks of it as odd for a husband and wife to have separate banking accounts anymore. Progress and independence. Imagine that? Finally, married women could file rape charges against their husband. For my younger readers, there was a time, not so long ago, a woman could be raped by her husband and there was nothing she could do about it legally. That changed. Women gained more control over their bodies and people still got married. The world did not end. Gay marriage isn’t much different. Two people in love, of the same sex, marry and life goes on. The world has not ended because gays are marrying each other.

You can’t say you support your gay friends if you don’t support their right to live as equals. You can’t say that you can have a civil union or domestic partnership but not marriage because that is the domain of heterosexuals alone and say you really support your gay friends. You don’t have to be at the marches and you don’t have to put a rainbow sticker on your car and become a circuit regular at PFLAG meetings to support your gay friends. All you have to do is accept that they are gay, treat them as an equal in words and actions and not stand in their way as they pursue happiness. If you’re not doing those three simple things, you’re not supporting your gay friends.

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