I’m Sick of Hearing About ‘the Gays’
I’m so sick of hearing about “gay (insert word here).” With the modern media cycle, it seems like every other day there’s another story about anti-gay bullying, discriminatory cake bakers, or people of faith speaking out about how same-sex marriage will end straight marriage.
Man, is it getting old.
But if you think I’m sick of hearing about it, imagine having to live through it. Imagine seeing the crowds of protestors at the federal court-house yesterday doing their damnedest to keep you from getting equal treatment under the law. Imagine worrying about your child in school, the threats or snears he gets because he has two moms.
Imagine how sick he is of hearing about it.
But as much as we are tired of hearing about it, we’re not done. The fight is not over.
This weekend history was made. Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to declare for the NFL draft, was drafted in the 7th round by the St. Louis Rams. He’s a talented guy and I was absolutely elated for him. That elation last for about 10 minutes. The ESPN camera that was following him showed him crying (like many of the 200+ guys drafted before him did) and then kissing his significant other (like most of the 200+ guys drafted before him did as well). Only for Sam, he kissed a man instead of a woman. Immediately a few homophobic and ignorant comments were made on Twitter regarding the kiss. While most of the reaction was positive, including his new coach, Jeff Fisher’s, the conversation quickly turned from a story about a hard-working kid making it big to an openly gay athlete kissing his boyfriend on TV.
This is another example of the equality movement is blazing through America. Hope is high and our jaws are squarely set to see this movement thru. And yet, the amount of resistance we’re encountering, the heated and, at times, sensational rhetoric from both sides of the issue and the focus on religious reasoning for continuing to deny equal rights sickens many inside and outside our community.
Yesterday, the marriage equality case was heard in the circuit court of Richmond. It was a proud day for the LGBT communities and those who support us. However, as usual, witnesses at the court were met with stark resistance from state-wide organization, The Family Foundation, but also from the National Organization for Marriage who unabashedly purports that religious freedom has everything to do with only one kind of religion and nothing to do with marriage equality.
Going beyond the signs citing Leviticus and telling all of us that our love isn’t relevant and deserving of equality, the chant “homo-sex is sin” rang out. The typical signs hailing the “One Man + One Woman” mantra as well as the new rhetorical trick of “Children deserve a Mom and Dad” were out in force.
Religion owns marriage, or so they think.
Though many in the Christian community have taken a stance against calling LGBT equality the “new civil rights movement,” it’s remiss to not consider the similarities.
It’s time to learn from history. It’s time for those who do not understand to put aside their fear and seek to understand in both communities. As Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, the judge who struck down Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage wrote this week:
“It has been over 40 years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.”
It’s time to move on. It’s time to realize that love exists outside of religious boundaries and cultural classifications.
Let’s move past the binary thinking of sexuality and of what is “right” and “wrong,” male or female, gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian. The insistence on categorization to establish legitimacy has to stop—even within our own community. The insistence on boiling down the LGBT community’s desire to marry to a sexual act or an agenda to take over America has to stop. As Judge Wright Allen wrote in her landmark decision:
“Gay and lesbian individuals share the same capacity as heterosexual individuals to form, preserve and celebrate loving, intimate and lasting relationships. Such relationships are created through the exercise of sacred, personal choices—choices, like the choices made by every other citizen, that must be free from unwarranted government interference.”
We are all the same. We deserve the same rights. Not because we belong to a specialized group, but because we are all humans. The St. Louis Rams understand that—they were also the first NFL franchise to ever sign an African-American player in 1947. As we march toward equality in Virginia, my hope is that eventually we won’t be talking about “gay rights” and “gay marriage” and “gay football players” in a few years, but rather “marriage,” and “rights” and “football players.”
But this starts within our own community.
Let’s continue to fight, but not forget to educate those who do not understand that.
Apryl Prentiss is a right wing dropout. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA and heavily involved in the evangelical Christian community for her entire life. She lives in Richmond, VA with her partner, Adrian, and enjoys trying to dialogue with those in the evangelical community about sexuality.
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