As I was laying on a table the other day, receiving treatment for some bulging discs in my neck, my doctor made a comment about a billboard he had seen that showed two gay men holding hands in front of a cruise ship. He said, "I'm happy for them and all but, no, I don't need to see that." My usual response to comments like this is, "Well, fuck you, my son is gay!" When this issue of gay rights comes up in my life I get very fired up and passionate. I've been working very hard on pausing, listening, and acting instead of reacting. I didn't have any kind of response, which gave him a clear hint that the comment bothered me. It seems rather presumptuous of a person to assume that the person he/she is speaking to has the same opinion. He left the room and I sat with it. I rolled it back and forth through my mind, coming up with all kinds of kind responses that I could have given him. My final thought before I left the office was this: "Not one thing I say today is going to change his mind about how he views gays. Not a single one of his opinion's is going to change how I live my life, how amazing my son is,and the fact that my son deserves to love and be loved (along with every other human being on this planet). In short, his opinion didn't matter to me.
The comment did set off several days of ranting in my head though. I don't understand why two men holding hands would be repulsive to anyone. Why would two people being kind and loving towards each other, traveling, and having a good time bother anyone?! I don't think he would have reacted to a father and son holding hands, two brothers hugging in a warm embrace or kissing each other, two friends of the same sex traveling together and having a good time. What is the difference?
I then go to this argument about whether being gay is a choice or not. I know for my son, it is not a choice. He is not sexually attracted to the female gender. He is attracted to men. He struggled for years to come to terms with the fact that this attraction was not going away and that at some point he needed to decide to accept and love himself anyway. The world will treat him differently, no doubt. Seriously, why would someone choose something that was going to make half of society scorn them? I think judging a person for being gay is like judging a person for having brown hair. And then I thought of some friends I know who happened to fall in love with someone of the same sex but don't necessarily identify with being gay. So maybe for some it is a choice of sorts. What it comes down to is who the hell cares and what damn difference does it make? Every human being on this planet deserves to love and be loved. Period. Why do some people care so much about how other people are living their lives? How other people choose to live their lives is none of my business and it doesn't effect my life one iota!
And this could be applied to anything. I think when a person is truly happy and satisfied with their own life, they won't have the time or energy to judge what someone else is doing with their's.
"Because one believes in oneself, one doesn't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn't need others' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her." `Lao Tzu
In many of these arguments, what the bible says about the issue is brought up. First of all, I don't believe the bible is nonfiction so for me it's a moot point, but let's pretend for a while that it is. Several years ago my sister, Ren, brought up this question to me: "How could God create and condemn in the same breath?" That question is the very thing that began my journey away from religion. It caused me to do a lot of contemplation about the God and religion that I was worshiping. Anything that causes people to hate, rather than love should be closely examined. I just couldn't shake it off. How could someone worship a God that created this beautiful human being and then condemned him/her as wrong? I personally believe that the few verses that bring up homosexuality are grossly taken out of context, but I don't have the energy to argue that one today, especially when I view the bible as myth anyway. Jesus never brought up the subject but he sure did have a lot to say about love. I don't think a lot of people understand what love really is. Some of the words that come up in the dictionary include, warm attachment, enthusiasm, devotion, and unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. Hmmmm, that sounds a bit deeper than just tolerance. If a person truly thinks that there is a God and that God truly has an issue with someone he created, I think it best to leave the judgement and condemnation to him, ya?
My doctor's presumption that I would be okay with his comments, or that I would agree with him absolutely floors me. He has known me for long enough to know that I probably wouldn't agree. Sadly, parent's presumptions that they won't have a gay child is even more astounding. I had to change my own attitudes as well. I had never even given it any thought. Like most people, I suppose, we would make comments, "What about _____. You could ask her on a date." I made huge assumptions about my children's sexuality. I look back now and it cuts me to the core to think that in some ways I was unintentionally making him feel like he had something wrong with him. If a parent makes it clear that he/she has a problem with gay people and their child is gay, sadly they will never know, or when they do find out it will probably not be on good terms. Children need to know that they are unconditionally loved and supported. I've seen children try to come to terms with their sexuality without their parents support and it is often a tumultuous process. The sadness, depression, and self-hatred that can surface is heart breaking. To feel like the people who should support and love you, greater than anyone else, actually find you repulsive has to be one of the most difficult things that a person has to face. It was difficult enough for my child, who was unconditionally loved and adored.
My child is one of the most compassionate, loyal, loving human beings that I have had the privilege of knowing. He loves philosophy, travels and experiences really cool things, teaches children to swim, saves lives, is genuinely concerned for the well-being of others, helps me out whenever I need him, does not gossip and judge others, takes care of himself through health and nutrition and tries to educate others, is passionate about wanting to make the world a better place for the next generation, spends a lot of time cultivating friendships and taking the time for other people, goes out of his way to make sure the people he loves know that he loves them, has many many interests and is generally ALIVE. Being gay is one of the last things on the list of things that define him. If you don't know him you are sadly missing out. I wonder how many amazing people that other's will not have the privilege of knowing and learning from because they have strong judgments towards them. I suppose we are all guilty of this in one way or another.
I realize that most people are a product of their upbringing and have accepted the opinions of others without every dissecting whether it's their own or not- religion, parenting, politics...... the list goes on and on. I hope more people can start examining their attitudes and opinions. Children are not born with hatred and judgment, they learned it. Be very, very careful what you are teaching your children. Love feels so much better!