Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Controversy ahead! Read at your own risk!

I'm going there again. You know, that place that I go when I say controversial things and hope no one puts a hit out on me?
Yeah, that place. I'm going there.

So I saw this news story come across my Facebook feed through the Human Rights Campaign. HRC picked up the story and held this event as a response. Overall, the evaluator in me says that the response event was a success, just as HRC calls it. But neither the news story nor HRC's response is really the subject of this post, but rather what pushed me over the edge and is making me go there. Let's break this into two parts to cut off any potential confusion at the pass. Here's the first thing I'm mulling:

I. All you need is love
Why is it ok for people to experience physical violence because of who they love? What I want to know specifically from the news story is what motivated those people to attack. Who gave them the power to decide what love is ok and what love isn't (and let me just say, love is love. Get over it. Love, me). Last I checked, we had not legislated love. But if some people get their way next November, it could happen. Scary. Love is an abstract concept that we try to express as best we can with words and deeds. That's it. No one can really explain it in any other way. I'm not intending to discuss the religious element of love here, either. What I'm saying is that as humans we are incapable of expressing ourselves in an infinite number of ways, and so we do the best we can with what we've got. We love who we love, and sometimes we can't explain why. What's the point, then, in wasting time and resources in the government realm on attempting to legislate love?
Whoa, I got away from the topic fast.
Back to first point: motivation. Those prejudicial thoughts those men had prior to the attack have to come from somewhere. Even if you subscribe to the notion that people are inherently flawed there's still some explaining to do. I know that I don't do everything right all the time, but I also know that some prejudices come from the homefront. I just want to know what parent is sleeping well at night knowing their kid (because these people are in their 20s) beat up a gay couple simply because they're gay. Really? Who is going to be proud of that? Not even the most stand-up Christians I know would embrace such actions.

II. And to you, Gay Community
Recently I encountered (of course via Facebook) the sentiment that supporting the gay community and wanting equal rights for them is a type of "bandwagon" that people are jumping on because it's some kind of trend. The issue at hand: Old Navy and its pride t-shirts. When I first read about them, I was thrilled. Look at Old Navy taking both a stand and huge risk. I know people who would boycott this company simply because they said the word "gay", let alone did anything to support the gay community. Way to go, Old Navy! Let me get one of those shirts! Except, there has been some disagreement. A friend of a friend (whose comment I noticed on facebook) suggested that Old Navy is just trying to make a buck and how dare they...which insinuated to me that people who buy these shirts aren't genuinely supportive of the gay community but are getting involved in a way that is disingenuous. What I got out of the entire conversation, which I ultimately participated in, was "if you aren't gay, you don't count when it comes to support".

Now that I've outlined, here's my rant:
It is unfair to suggest that people who are not gay cannot advocate for equal rights. Let's take a historical trip down memory lane. Crack your history books, folks. Anyone remember the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights movement? (Which by the way implies that everyone has their civil rights now, because it's the Civil Rights Movement. Not true. Just sayin'.) Everyone who protested to earn African Americans their rights was not an African American. The NAACP (which I generally disagree with on principle) is about advancement, and I seriously doubt that every member of that organization is African American. So what's to say, then, that there isn't a similarity here? Prior to the 1960s (and yes, I know it still happens today) there were severe incidences of violence toward African Americans. Tell me, how does the Matthew Shepard story compare to this? In short, the similarities are there; trust me.
As someone who regularly supports the movement for gay rights as much as possible given my position as a teacher and a resident in rural North Carolina I'm offended at the notion that my support isn't good enough. Just like the African American Civil Rights movement, it takes more than the minority group itself to enact change. Why wouldn't you welcome support from all sides? I just don't get it. Bottom line: it takes all of us, gay straight and otherwise, or it won't get done. Aren't allies a part of the gay community by virtue of their love and support? I'm a little angry but more so hurt that this may be the sentiment of more than just this friend of a friend.

We as a society have to break this idea that we just beat up who we don't like for any arbitrary reason we choose. Is that the people we want to be for our children? Our grandchildren? My husband and I intend to raise our family in a home of love, respect and equality. We don't care if we're in the minority, but we sure hope we aren't. Our children deserve that much from us, don't they?

I really want to start a conversation; who knows, it could lead to revolutionary change.

1 comment:

rblack4612 said...

Lindsey, you and I are of the same mindset. I am so frustrated in the current congress and my !legislators, I can't express it. In this climate, nothing is getting done. And Franklin Graham, please..Vent, Vent, Vent