Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gay Rights – An Inconvenient Opinion

While I wish President Obama would just repeal DADT and DOMA already instead of continuously talking about it, sometimes the LGBT community is their own worst enemy. Let’s look into a reason why I feel being gay is not generally accepted. I’m going to say something that will upset many by taking Barney Frank’s point of the futileness of gay pride marches a step further. I think the gay marches actually make matters worse in many cases. How? Many people are “uncomfortable” by a hairy man wearing a pink feathered hat with a black leather vest and tight pants walking down a street with a bunch of similarly dressed people. Many see this infrequent event on television thinking this is normal gay behavior and it proves to them that gays are freaks not to be trusted. I’m not saying that being out and proud is wrong, quite the contrary, but would you dress like that to go to work, to a ballgame, to pick your kid up from school? To get true equality, you don’t have to give up your identity, but you must retain dignity for yourself and your community. We have a handful of out and proud celebrities like Chad Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, Neil Patrick Harris and Rachel Maddow who are all well liked and respected for the job they do because it’s clear that their sexual orientation is just part of them, it doesn’t define them. Maybe I’m mistaken about over exaggerated flamboyancy. Maybe it is a natural aspect of certain people and I don’t “get it” because I’m quite happy with a polo shirt, a pair of jeans and sneakers. To me, it feels disingenuous and a selfish cry for attention instead of what’s best for the gay community. We still live in a very homophobic world where people fear what they don’t understand. Sadly, the people we need to convince that being gay is a natural part of many Americans lives also believe that man walked with dinosaurs. These same people need to feel secure that gays are not a threat to their way of life or their children. Do I think it’s a fair battle? Absolutely not. However, losing a few small battles with a clear objective and strategy on winning the war will reap rewards for generations to come. That’s change to believe in.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Cheryl but if I may, here's another viewpoint. One of my closest friends is a gay man. He took your viewpoint for many years, about the flamboyant ones, the ones who flaunt their gayness. One day he was at a pride parade and he thought, "you know, we're all part of the same group, maybe they can't help who they are anymore than I can help who I am." I know where you're coming from here, I get it. It makes me very sad when I see quiet, passive Jews loathing the loud, aggressive ones. Educated, upper class blacks looking down on the blacks less fortunate than they are. Clearly you don't loathe these people you're writing about. In fact if I were a gay man flamboyance would not be my way either. But it is A WAY. Not any more right, or wrong, than any other way. I have a great appreciation for shock value, for the ability to fuck with people's heads. People need to have their heads fucked with. Of course homophobes aren't going to like it, that's the point. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. You seem comfortable with who you are right now and that makes me happy, it's a great thing. Let the flamboyant gay men, and the really butch lesbians do the same. You're a very good writer. Much love.

    Don Fisher