Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's Not About a Faceless THEM, It's About All of Us

I generally don't post anything non-literature related, but this article so moved me that I want to publish it here. We have such a long way to go.  I remember years ago, when I was heavily involved in public education around the subject of sexual assault, that one lesson I learned is that it would take men's voices to stop violence against women.  Now, it will take the voices of those of us who identify as straight to effect change around the rights of those who identify as gay. They can't do it alone, and we in the straight community can't ignore our moral responsibility forever.

Most reasonable people regardless of personal beliefs understand that physical intimidation and violence is wrong. But what about emotional violence?  In this case, we are talking about emotional violence so self-righteous, so insidious, that it extended to a family member of a gay person. How common is this? - I would guess very common. And when we stand by and let these incidents go unchallenged, how much damage have we done?


Defriended Over a Wedding, A Straight Man Gains Perspective

Originally posted on September 3, 2012 by allydavidstevens on evolequals.com.

My younger brother is gay. Gay as laughter. Gay as the day is long. One of the finest moments in my life, and one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever paid me, was the day he felt safe to come out to me. He's in his mid-30s now, but he'll always be my little brother. And man, I love that kid. He's brilliant, he's funny, and he's kind. And he just married a phenomenal man.

I was always predisposed to like his husband because, y'know, he's my brother's partner and therefore has automatic status in my heart. The wonderful bonus is that I really like him. He's brilliant, he's funny, and he's kind. He's a cool dude to hang out with. He also stood by my brother like a rock when my brother had a life-threatening cancer that cost him his left eye.

They married in May. It was a wonderful ceremony in which I was honored to stand by my brother, supporting him in his vows. My eyes teared up like they always do at weddings. I had the joy of watching two people commit to a lifetime together. It filled my heart.

Folks started posting photos from the wedding on Facebook, and I proudly reposted photos of the ceremony (with me looking awesome in my new suit, of course). Shortly after that, I received this message from a FB friend:

"Hey David, I am removing you from my friends list...sorry man, that latest post is way over the top! Homosexuals joining in "Holy" matrimony...I don't think so??? The Holy Bible speaks out against homosexuality and speaks highly of Holy matrimony between a man and a woman. It's nothing more than a slap in the face to those who choose God's Word, for homosexuals to join in a Holy marriage. I'm only defriending you so I don't have to look at your anti-God stuff anymore...nothing personal!"


This came from a man I used to work with. A man I respect in his dedication to his family, and in his desire to live a moral and ethical life. A man with whom I have had some very interesting religious debates. He has become a Baptist preacher since we last spoke in person, and I suppose that makes this message unsurprising.

But, I was still surprised. I was taken aback. I needed a moment. I was hurt.

I was inclined to hurl some expletives in his direction.

But, only for a moment. He's not really that important of a person in my life. I had actually at times grown rather tired of his Facebook postings...I don't have a great need for fundamentalist dogma in my day. So, on some level, good riddance.

I sent him a letter at his church, expressing my disappointment in his withdrawal. I had a few friends read the letter before I sent it, to make sure that it didn't contain too much bile. I'm not surprised that I haven't heard back from him.

The situation got me thinking: What if this hadn't been about my brother's wedding, but about MY wedding? What if it hadn't been from a distant friend, but from a beloved family member?


How many millions of gay kids (and adults) have had that exact thing happen to them? How many millions more will in the future?

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry for that pain. I'm sorry for that rejection. I'm sorry for that isolation.

I'm straight. Straight as a yardstick. Straight as an arrow. I am in your corner. If I could take on that pain for you, I would.

I love you.

If you're gay, I think that's wonderful, and I'm truly happy for you. I wish you all the love and joy in the world.

If you're straight, I think that's wonderful, and I'm truly happy for you. I wish you all the love and joy in the world. And I charge you, I charge you to imagine the above scenario played out with YOU as the target of rejection. Imagine the people closest to you telling you, essentially, "You are fundamentally flawed and I want nothing to do with you." Our LGBTQ brothers and sisters face this everyday. Please don't forget that.

The poor, misguided soul is no longer in my life. That's okay. My brother and his husband still are. I just hung out with my brother a few weeks ago, and it was a blast. He's brilliant, he's funny, and he's kind. I couldn't be prouder to call him my brother. I love him, and love wins, period.

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