Today is Gay Pride Day across America.
In its honor, I urge any parents or friends or family members who have rejected someone who is gay to wake the hell up. Being gay isn’t a choice—it’s who you are. And gays and lesbians should be embraced and loved and respected in the same exact way all others are. Enough of this, “What if gays do [FILL IN THE BLANK]?” Enough.
If you go to the gym and shower in the locker room, odds are you’ve been naked in front of a gay person. Did you survive?
If you’re a member of the armed forces, odds are you’ve gone to battle (if you’ve served in action) with a gay person. Did it impact your ability to fight?
If you’re human, odds are you’ve got someone gay close to you. He/she is there, hurting, wanting to come out of the closet, but scared/worried/concerned about the reaction. He/she wants to be himself/herself, but still—even in 2010—worries about the impact and aftermath. When I was a student at Delaware, a classmate actually came out to me at a party. We were standing in a hallway and he said, “You probably don’t know this, but I’m gay.” Truth be told, I did know. But the courage blew me away, and inspired me. He wanted people to know because he wanted to be himself. Really, we all want to be ourselves, don’t we?
I’m sick of the bigotry, and I’m thrilled that—at long last—it seems to be fading away. The “Gay teachers are dangerous” movement barely exists anymore, and those who oppose gay adoptions merely sound like dinosaurs from another era (and cruel ones. Really, you’re opposed to gay adoption? You’d prefer these kids remain in foster homes, even when loving gay couples await? Really?). It’s all but inevitable now that gays will serve openly in the military, and the Catholic Church continues to deem itself obsolete with its blather of “homosexuals living in sin.” As for the GOP’s warnings of a so-called “homosexual agenda” from a few years ago? A d-e-a-d battle cry. D-e-a-d.
Why are times changing? Because the greatest weapon in the war over our culture is exposure. As more people know gays; as more relatives comes out; as more crazy right political leaders show their true moral character, we are able to see that gay people are, first and foremost, people. When I was a kid, we tossed around the words “fag” and “queer” with reckless, angry disdain. Now, I wouldn’t think of using them. Would you?
So embrace the day. Take pride in it. Because the gay rights movement of 2010 is a strong one, and those standing in its way have run out of ammo.