Monday, May 11, 2009

the same difference

human rights are for everybody.
more on that later.

As soon as I got back to Boonville, I sat my mother deskside and had her take the survey at "" to evaluate her ideal living location. She and I laughed through most of the questions, commenting on embarassing memories and our inability to mountainbike.
Then, we get to the question that made my mother needlessly sweat. The jist of it was this- "is advocacy for gay and lesbian people important to you?" There was a long mother knew her answer her "mattered"... it was her first opportunity to show whether she just accepted that I was a homosexual or she accepted that homosexuals were worthy of equal rights (at least as i read the question).

Her response was as follows " i guess it would be nice, you know, for when you visited."

yeah. nice. because equal rights and treatment are about "convenience" and are just fine as a "some times" thing for "some people." sweet.

perhaps this wouldn't have phased me at all if not for a related interaction with my father earlier that morning. while he was helping me move out of my apartment, a friend proceeded to tell him about the nightmarish haircut experience i'd had two days prior.

On Thursday, charlie on jefferson street was snipping away at my hair, talking to two elderly local men about gay marriage. they were blanketly against it and seemed to take iowa's decision to legalize same-sex marriage particularly personally. i kept my mouth shut as i really didn't care to get in an argument with three large homophobic men, especially when one of them was holding a sharp objet to my head. but, charlie asked me, and i timidly shared my opinion.

"um...well... i don't see how two people in love getting married really hurts anybody."

charlie looked at me shocked, then angry, then laughed. he then proceeded to explain to me how homosexuality is "just child molestation, only the victims are a little older" and that "all homosexuals are rapists" in his book.

i responded. how, i'll likely never remember. i wasn't particularly angry; i was just completely taken off guard by such damaging ignorance. i stumbled and backpedaled and stuttered and apparently in the process i outed myself, likely to add validity to my defense.

and so, charlie's parting words to me after i handed him 10 dollars were this "well, i'm sorry, but if you're one of them homosexuals, then you're a child molester and a rapist."

upon hearing this story my father nervously laughed, shrugged his shoulders and said "well, that's what you get for talking about gay marriage in a kirksville barber shop."

hmph. really? your son, who is involved in several programs to end sexual violence, is cruelly and ironically called a molester and rapist, and you blame him? you're not pissed off? you don't want to jump to protect him or comfort him?

yes, the first place my thoughts jumped were to myself, to my selfishness. mom! dad! don't you care about MY right to love who I want, to live where I want, to work where I want.

and then i remembered that this was hardly only about me. all gay people deserve equal rights and equal treatment. scratch that- ALL PEOPLE deserve to be treated with humanity and decency, and only those guilty of harming others need receive any chastizing or punishment. this is not a "fun" or "convenient" thing for when i visit. this is not about putting up with harassment to avoid making others uncomfortable. this is about you and me and all of us living the lives, being the people, and receiving the rights we deserve.

and, with that in mind, i'm so ready to go across the world to learn, grow, and kick hatred in the ass.


Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

[Sorry, noticed spelling errors and I'm OCD so I had to fix it! Hence the deleted post. ]

I am about as conservative as they come, except on the subject of gay marriage. And the weird thing is - you've changed my mind.

You and a few other wonderful people I've met at Truman who have chosen a different lifestyle than my own. In fact, I think you were the first openly homosexual man I've ever met. (And the best part is that I didn't even realize you were gay until after Chemistry!)

I didn't notice because it's not like homosexuals have "gay" personalities, "queer" interests, or "homo" emotions. Homosexuals have human personalities, human interests, and human emotions. Your sexual identity doesn't absolutely define you as a human being. (No single trait or characteristic can do that.)

I really hope you can change others minds as much as you've changed mine.

Anonymous said...

My mom has been trying to be more understanding - I've actually got her to admit that gay marriage on a legal level is nothing but reasonable. It doesn't come up very often.