Archive | August, 2011

Acceptance not tolerance

29 Aug

I know I’ve already written about this topic but I got so upset last week when I saw footage of yet another political debate on the topic of gay marriage….

Did you hear about what started it all? Bob Katter and a bunch of others spoke about how legalising gay marriage would destroy everything that marriage stands for and pollute their children. They even said that the word “gay” has been contaminated. Oh and did I mention that this was during a rally that Bob Katter organised protesting against gay marriage?

Then two days later Bob Katter’s gay brother released a video describing his difficult journey of trying to find acceptance upon the realisation of his homosexuality. Then the debate followed.

Sure there was plenty of support by level-headed, compassionate types but the rebuttal was nothing more than a bigoted, insecure, fear-driven, homophobic gay-bashing… I felt embarrassed that these so-called “leaders” are representing us. It was truly disgusting. “Leaders” who cannot accept diversity should not be allowed to represent a diverse nation!

Some of their comments suggested that opening the door for “gays” to marry will then open the flood gates for “marriage in other types of unconventional relationships such as polygamous relationships”. WTF?! How is this even relevant? This isn’t the high school debating team! This is a discussion about why two people who love each other should be allowed to legally marry. The polygamy shit is simply a cover for homophobia and a convenient distraction from the issue at hand. And honestly, is having to say “no” to the guy who wants to marry all of his girlfriends really anything to be afraid of?

And did you notice the word “unconventional” in there? That was really a part of the debate – multiple times! As I mentioned in my last blog about marriage equality, allowing same sex marriage is about FAR MORE than equal rights, it’s about NORMALISING homosexuality so that the children of the homophobic blokes who are in power don’t grow up to be homophobic too. It’s about acceptance, not tolerance.

Tolerance is the whole “I don’t care what you do behind closed doors as long as our innocent children don’t have to know about it” attitude. Guess what? If a man wants to kiss his boyfriend in public, all I see is a demonstration of love between two people – and a child that grows up seeing gay relationships as a normal part of life will simply see that as well. Love is not wrong.

It’s interesting to see such strong opinions on this issue. Neither side seems willing to back down any time soon. But I have hope in the fact that: gay people aren’t going away just as much as women aren’t going away… and not long ago we gave women equal rights too.

Love is Natural

12 Aug

Gay marriage and anti homophobia has been a hot topic recently. I find it so heart warming to see so much support for this issue from ALL people not just the gay community but I also feel so confused and disappointed by the words and actions of people who are homophobic.

Homophobia is like racism – both require a detachment from the reality that is: WE ARE ALL HUMAN! We all have the same human needs and desires, including the need to love and be loved. This is not a right that is only available to… white people or straight people… in fact it’s not a right at all, it’s a core human need.

People do not choose to be same sex attracted just to upset conservative, pious types. It’s not like we’re all ‘pretending’ to be gay just to make some sort of revolutionary political statement. No, the truth is, people are born gay in the same way that people are born hetro in the same way that some people are born bisexual in the same way that some people are born transgender – it is who you are and you cannot change that. Seriously, denying your true self does great damage. I’ve known many gay ‘baby boomers’ who grew up in a time where homosexuality wasn’t talked about and as a result they got married and had children like they were ‘supposed’ to only to find themselves crumble years later after denying their true identity for a so long! Only once they allowed themselves to be honest about who they are and find TRUE love we they able to find empowerment. And this was only possible once being gay was became more socially accepted.

Everyone deserves to feel this empowerment. And thankfully thesedays there are more empowered gay people than ever before… but for some it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re being constantly rejected. Have a look at this amazing piece by the NY Times about teenagers coming out. Some stories are of acceptance and empowerment but many are of rejection, even by their own families. Telling a child that they are wrong for being true to themselves may as well be abuse if you ask me. The emotional trauma that comes from this can take years to heal. How many lives could be saved/improved just by acceptance of people’s differences? (especially when these differences have NO IMPACT on anyone else whatsoever!)

This is where the issue of legalising gay marriage in Australia comes in. For me, this goes beyond equal rights, it’s about normalising homosexuality so that the next generation of people will grow up without the idea that being gay is bad, weird or wrong. It will just be normal, as it should be. I love this quote by Portia De Rossi:

When you tell someone that you’re gay the best response you could possibly get is “Who cares?”

I couldn’t agree more. When you think about it, judging someone based on who they’re attracted to is about as ridiculous as judging someone because they prefer sliverbeet over spinach. The truth is that not many people could even tell the difference between silverbeet and spinach if they tried and who really cares anyway? At the end of the day they’re both green, good for you and taste good wrapped in pastry. Why should our approach to love be any different? At the end of the day a hetro couple in love and a gay couple in love are both loving… and that is all that matters.

Wanna know what love is about? Have a look at these photos, these photos and this video from the first gay weddings recently in New York. These images are simply of humans experiencing love and joy – what a beautiful sight that is. Who cares whether they are marrying a man or a woman?

I’m not by any means suggesting that all couples should get married, but I believe that all couples should be given the choice… and with that choice, it should be acknowledged that the love they feel is valid, normal and accepted.