Sexuality is part of who we are. I make no apologies for who or what I am. I am gay. I actively fulfill my sexual fetishes. I masturbate. I watch pornography.... and I disagree with anyone who would say that any of those things are 'wrong' or 'bad'. I have not hurt anyone. I have not forced my lifestyle onto other people. The only thing I have done is to ask for the same rights and privileges as anyone else.
Understandably, people fear what they do not understand. Because homosexuals comprise 7% of the population, a vast majority of people have not had much exposure to homosexuality aside from the stereotypes and portrayals found in movies and television. Of the gay population, no one really knows what the ratio of "out" to "closeted" people is. That is to say, for every gay person who is open and honest about being gay, there is a gay or bisexual person who keeps their sexuality a secret, which is unfortunate.
Legitimately, the most simple and vital thing we, as gay and lesbian people, can do is to be out. To be open and honest about who and what we are, and to be proud to simply answer "Yes, I am," whenever our homosexuality is brought into question... Because ultimately the decisions about our equal rights and rights to marry will be made by our neighbours, friends, family, and community. When confronted with the question of gay marriage, the hinge for most people is whether or not they know someone who would be impacted by the decision. (Jeff? Kind, patient, funny Jeff? Wants to marry Michael? Of course they should have that right, they are perfect for each other!) Simply put, the single act of being out- the single act of being proud of who and what we are over the years has been our strongest step towards being accepted and given equality in our communities and in our laws. By failing to give in to the concept that we should hide our lives from the public, and by not hiding the truth about ourselves from our friends, family, co-workers, and even the cashier at the corner store has created an understanding in others that has made our progress towards equality possible.
In fact, because we have been out, couples have been able to adopt children, buy homes, start businesses together—all without the benefit of the same benefits as heterosexual couples such as tax benefits, inheritance rights, or the right to visit our partner in hospital… but, those benefits are starting to change, and sway to equality as more and more people get to know us. As we continue to come out, and reach people one by one—to touch their lives in a way that suddenly, they have a friend or acquaintance who is impacted by the lack of justice and lack of equality- THAT is the biggest impact we can have to change things.
The California Supreme Court called gay marriage a "basic civil right", and much like other civil rights, we will eventually be looking back on the California decision with the same mind set as the right for women to vote, the right for different races to marry, and the right for people to live somewhere regardless of their religion—provided that we continue to reach and touch the lives of those around us in a way that gives them a stake in the changes necessary. Simply put: to not know us is to not care. But knowing us changes things, and changes minds. By being out, we will make a difference and will gain our equality.
Yet that alone is not enough. The second thing which will help propel us forward is to match those who object to our rights to marry with the same volume, the same well-financed, well-organized approach to the congress people, judges, governors, senators, and mayors as our opposition. By donating money, or time to one of the many organizations which support us; by signing petitions, writing letters; by voting; by taking a bit of time from your life whenever it is possible to lend a hand to our cause; we obtain the "basic civil right" from Alabama to Virginia. From Alaska to Florida, and everywhere in between. Take a moment to search for an organization in your community, and support them…. Or visit here for a list of groups who support our rights, we well as a group who are fighting to strongly oppose us. It is time to raise our hands in the crowd, and time for our voices to be heard. It is time to be equal. It is time to make change.
That is my resolution.
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