At random, I came across this video of older people sitting around and talking about the issue of gays. Don't ask why this was on video, I wouldn't know. I was looking up videos on equality and somehow found this one. At any rate, the man doing most of the talking of course referred to God's will as the reason "homosexuality ain't right" (as he stated). He then said something about being scared of the direction this country was headed, because "Gays are trying to take over...look at them, they already are."
At that point, I envisioned a militia of stereotypical gay males, uniforms decorated with neat flower arrangements and fancy hairdos, fighting alongside stereotypical lesbians, all gruff and taking charge. I couldn't help but laugh to myself with these thoughts. I knew better than whatever the man was describing about "gays taking over." He was apparently full of fears...fear of the unknown whenever you let less popular groups have the same rights as the majority.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending both the rally at the Capitol as well as the candlelight vigil in Midtown. Kristin and the kids were right there with me, of course. We cheered, listened to the speakers, and enjoyed small conversations with the strangers (but allies) surrounding us. It was great to see a crowd, but I really thought it could have been larger. I attribute some of the absences to the short notice. But, other fellow gays told me they wouldn't be in attendance for fears that the media might capture their image and they'd be outed. I definitely respect their reasons. It's just a shame, though, that so much negativity could be imposed on a person because of his or her sexual orientation.
So, while in attendance, and thinking about things, a few thoughts crossed my mind. Morghan, my 11 year-old, expressed concerns about her and her brother being taken away from me. I told her that yes, it was a concern for a lot of same-sex couples, but not for us and our circumstances. In our case, it would only be an issue if the dad brought me to court, but there's a larger chance of him winning the lottery than taking me to court. At this point, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on. I've raised them on my own since they were born, and he has yet to prove that he can take care of himself, let alone two children. It made me realize how lucky I was in that department.
That spurred me to think about all the older children and teens who have been left in Nebraska, a state whose "safe haven" laws were written too vaguely. I wondered if any of those people who chose to leave their kids behind are gay. OR...was it "those straight people." There those straighties go again...pro-creating with their natural abilities and then leaving their kids to be raised by someone else.
Here's another thought that crossed my mind (Yeah, I was thinking again)...
I thought about the evolution of civil rights in the United States. When European males decided to "come in and take over the place," it was only THEM who had rights. In fact, the initial reason for our Electoral College system of presidential voting was because the powers to be didn't feel an average citizen was informed enough to decide who gets into office. So...the first major step was allowing "average Joes" the chance to vote. After all...there was fear that folks outside their "clique" would ruin things for the current system, most comfortable for them.
We all know, of course, it was a long time before Americans came to terms with the fact that blacks were people, too...not property. It was an even longer time before they could vote, and it was a bit after that before women could vote. Later down the road, Americans had to come to terms with the idea of us all being able to attend the same schools and get the same service in the same location, all at the same time. Many feared what would happen to America if those without equal rights were actually treated like real citizens and given the same respect. Oh my!
I wasn't around during the 50s-60s civil rights movements (nor do I have any past life memories of such). I really have nothing to say in defense of the fears going around. As I teach in a diverse environment, one being recognized as an official "No Place for Hate" school, I must say I really like this integration thing. Get this...one day in class with my 7th graders...it was at the beginning of the year when there were only 4 kids in the group...I asked them about their ethnicities (first explaining the difference between race and ethnicity). Would you believe that in a group of just 5 people, every last one of us had a different ethnic origin? We all traced back to different countries and most of the kids were multi-racial as well. How neat. Would you believe that just 50 years ago, my classroom would have been empty?
Anyway, my slight...and very slight...defense of those who were against desegregation is that they had no experience with people unlike them, and therefore, they were uncomfortable with the idea. This meant allowing their kids to attend school alongside different kids, they'd have to possibly work with people of other races, and most of all, they'd have to go about life alongside others (That seat at the front of the bus wouldn't be so "safe" anymore). It was a major step outside their comfort zone. Although their comfort zone was unfair and ignorant, it was something they had to make mental adjustments for.
This brings me to today...the civil rights we are currently asking quite nicely for (Yes, us gays who are "taking over" are being quite kind about it.)...don't actually require the concessions of the majority as the civil rights reforms of the past. Think about it...we want sexual orientation to be included in EOE statements right alongside race, sex, religion, disability, etc. We want to have our unions formally recognized...our partners given the same legal privileges as opposite-sex spouses inherently claim upon marriage...and we want to be able to raise a family...give it the love, guidance, and responsible upbringing that opposite-sex couples can legally do...not only without obstacles, but also with the encouragement of others. In fact, opposite-sex couples who choose NOT to have children often catch slack about it. So anyway...these rights I speak of (or type of)...these require no adjustment on the part of others who do not agree with same-sex relations.
Sure...people say that gay relationships aren't good for kids, aren't good for the public, etc. They refer to their beliefs about God (though my beliefs about God tell me I'm okay with Him), and why this should not be allowed. However...all they really gain from our lack of civil rights is their mental comfort of knowing it's not formally recognized. I'm certainly not going to leave Kristin to find me a husband. I don't know of any gays who are planning to drop their partners and marry opposite-sex. In reality, we just have more hoops to jump through with paperwork. But the essence in what they are trying to stop...gay relationships altogether...won't happen. When people see me and Kristin in public, they know we are a lesbian couple (except for the few who think she's my oldest child...hahaha....and I only have 3 years on her!). Thus, we are visible, like many others. The rights we don't have at this point in our life don't change the things that Proposition H8ers want to see changed. We are still here. We are still gay. Our lives haven't changed, but most of all, neither have theirs.