As Ellen DeGeneres once said, it’s not like I wake up every morning and think, “I’m gay!”
I wake up and think about the same things everyone else thinks about: Shit, I forgot to take the garbage out, or I have to pee, or possibly, Did the cat just fart? In other words, being a member of a minority is not exactly in the forefront of my thoughts at all times the way some people seem to think it must be. Granted, when I was 17, it crowded out every other thought process in my brain, bullying away reasonable thoughts like I really should eat or I think I’ll make my bed. But at 51, I rarely sit around thinking about being gay.
That being said, there are the ongoing unwanted reminders in life that I’m part of a group that some people don’t find particularly amusing. Personally, I can’t say that I’ve ever felt horribly discriminated against by individuals. I mean, once someone hit me in the back with a dirt clod and yelled, “Dyke!” years ago in San Francisco. (This still puzzle me, since I can’t for the life of me figure out how one discerns a stranger’s sexual orientation in a moment’s glimpse from a speeding Corolla.) Another time, I had an old friend from high school crisply inform me that I’d be going to hell with no chance of even purgatory. A handful of people over the years have abruptly begun ignoring me when they’ve figured out that Oh My God She’s One Of Those People.
But on the whole, I can’t say that it’s been a nightmare of acute and specific discrimination. No one’s beaten me up. My parents didn’t chase me out of the house with a shotgun. I haven’t been fired from a job or refused service in a restaurant. Romney never pushed me to the ground and threatened me with a haircut.
Like most every other gay person I know, it’s the bigger picture that generally creates the frustration, anger, shame, and paranoia. And by bigger picture, I mean the World around us. Again, I don’t sit in a hand-wringing heap and obsess about it 24/7, but it really sucks that it’s still illegal to be gay in 33% of the countries on earth. And in many of these countries it’s happily punishable by death or torture. “Whoo doggie!” you’re saying. “I sure am glad we live in the U.S. where we’re progressive and stuff!”
But it was only 8 years ago (EIGHT!) that the last states in the U.S. finally struck down their laws that made homosexuality illegal here. Which brings me to my point: I’m sorry, but I just can’t get that fired up about suddenly demanding gay marriage. Why? Because it’s the lovely dessert before dinner. I mean for pete’s sake, there are still no gay anti-discrimination laws in place in 29 states in the U.S. Personally, I’d really prefer knowing that I can’t be denied housing or a job or healthcare before knowing that I can’t be denied a rice shower and 4-tier cake.
Don’t get me wrong. If it were legal to be gay and married in Tennessee (HA HA HA HA!!!!), I would be, and I’d be thrilled. Who doesn’t like bittersweet chocolate mousse first when faced with the prospect of tuna casserole and canned peas? All I’m saying is that it is a tad cart before horse-ish. And there’s still a whole lot of shit in the cart. That shit includes the fact that it was only a mere 30 months ago that the Federal government finally witheringly decided that, well yes, killing and beating people for being gay should probably be classified as a hate crime. Next stop marriage? Why not!!
Other more nebulous shit includes the jovial willingness to continue to cringingly stereotype gay people in the media. Granted, the perception of What Gay People are Like isn’t really helped by Rachel Maddow wearing men’s suits and sporting a no mess-no fuss barber shop coif. However, shocking as this may be, not every gay man prances around worrying moronically about home decor and wine choices. I like Modern Family as much as the next doof, but I can asure you that 50ish years from now, the over-the-top minciness will appear as awkward as the black stereotypes of Buckwheat loving watermelon in The Littel Rascals or Prissy in Gone With the Wind announcing, “Oh Miss Scarlett! I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”
Anyway, well crap. I’m really not, in fact, a fan of political correctness. I’m just trying to make a point about where it would seem that American society really is when it comes to perception/acceptance of gay people and how phenomenal a leap that is from there to wedding bells. It’s just a bit baffling to me. I grew up in an era where many people really did believe that you could catch homosexuality by having a brief conversation with someone of that persuasion. Perhaps leaps are more vivid to me.
I know that gay marriage is the Issue of the Day, and of course it makes me feel good to see it supported. I’m sure it’s gratifying to open-minded heterosexuals to openly support it. It’s certainly more exciting and in-your-face and threatening-to-the-haters than discrimination legislation and tax and insurance laws. Civil unions would give us the rights, but Gay Weddings would take us into an entirely different stratosphere of equality and paparazzi.
So, I don’t know. Maybe the cart before the horse and dessert before din-din is a good thing?
I do know that those who argue against gay marriage on the grounds of religion and “the protection of the sanctity of marriage” are, in my view, either seriously confused or just stupid. Yes, I can see where sodomy was condemned in the Old Testament, Mr. Comb Over. I can also see where slavery and bigamy were encouraged. As for the “protection” angle, um yeah. We’ve all heard these arguments before, and the national divorce rate is still 40-60%, Mrs. Bridge Party-n-Crumpets. Let’s face it. The bulk of people who oppose gay marriage oppose it because they simply don’t want people they dislike to be happy. That’s the definition of discrimination.
On a final note, I have my doubts that marriage will ever be legal in the South in my lifetime. But if it is, and in the spirit of carts before horsies, you’re all invited to the big wedding. Gifts accepted! I enjoy expensive kitchen appliances, foreign travel, and pricey rare books.