In the early days of our struggle we were considered insane. We have endured conversion therapies, being bullied, ostracized and for many being shunned by our own families simply for being who we are.
When I came out, it was the early days of the AIDS crisis; people would not even touch us out of fear. The fear and misunderstanding of our citizenry led to far too many deaths, too many of our best and brightest perished because of a lack of acceptance, love and understanding.
As more was learned about the disease, we in the gay community mobilized and fought for our brothers and sisters who were dying. As the disease gained traction in the straight community, our efforts and what we had learned was embraced and used to help fight for the larger good.
I contend that during these days of the AIDS crisis, when we as a community worked hand in hand with our straight allies was when hearts and minds began to soften towards those who are gay.
I firmly believe that when our nation works together we are at our best. We do and always will have differences; however when we reach across barriers to be one nation is when we can overcome all.
For the past several years, the gay community has found great acceptance within the larger population. We have all benefitted from these early days of our struggle to present day.
Many people fought and died for what we now find as majority acceptance.
There is still a long way to go before we are where we want to be, but as the old saying from the 70’s echoed through society, “we’ve come a long way baby!”
What troubles me is when will we as a community offer the same level of acceptance of our own community and others that we demand.
We have fought to be where we are, we have demanded respect, understanding and acceptance. We fought to the highest levels of the judiciary for our right to marry and we won.
We have fought for our community’s acceptance in the general population, but we still struggle with our own brothers and sisters.
Almost a year ago, a young blogger by the name of Dalton Heinrich published an article ridiculing the very people who fought and died for his ability to be an out and proud young gay man.
Mr. Heinrich was offended by some gay men’s attraction and desire to hold onto their youth. Obviously at the advanced age of 25, Mr. Heinrich has little knowledge of his history and those who died for his 21st century liberties.
This young gay blogger isn’t alone. It seems as though we in the gay community use every opportunity to destroy our own.
The muscles queens don’t like the leather daddies and the bears avoid the lesbians at every opportunity. Our gay culture is the most judgmental, self-centered, exclusionary segment of our society. In most cases it is WE who are the problem, not the general population.
We demand other accept us, but when will we accept our own? When will we begin to welcome our entire community under our giant rainbow umbrella?
We have fought and we have won. But have we won with honor or dignity?
I do not support the way our community has been treated through history, it is and always has been wrong. However, it is also wrong when we treat others the way we have been treated in our victory.
As most anyone who knows me understand, I am a gay man, I am a Christian man, both are part of what makes me who I am.
I am a southerner, I am a professional, I am creative, bitchy, and often generous to a fault, all attributes that make me who I am.
There will always be people who don’t like one part or another of who I am that is their prerogative. It should not affect the way I live my life, if I live my life with dignity.
While we have won our right to marry and in many areas a much greater acceptance, at some point we have to honor others feelings and beliefs as well.
There are people who genuinely believe that marriage between two men is wrong because of their faith that is as much their right as it is ours to believe we have the right to marry.
Until we as a community begin to honor their feelings, as we demand they honor ours, the struggle will never be complete.
For weeks I have heard and read on social media, how horrible the SCOTUS decision is acknowledging marriage equality. I have seen friends declare that this will lead to the end of our civilization. In the same posts I have seen my gay brothers and sisters call these believers every name in the book.
Is one worse than the other?
It is my belief that our entire society has become a nation looking for opportunities to be offended.
Gays are offended, blacks are offended, muslims are offended, southerners are offended, men, women, transgender and children, Republicans, Democrats and Independents are all offended, if everyone would stop being offended and accept the differences of your fellow man, we may actually learn to live together and learn from one another.
The problem is, we all wait for the next group to be the one who starts this understanding and when they don’t the viscous cycle continues.
Allow me to tell you what offends me, it offends me that gay men dress as women and go out in public enforcing every limp wrist sissy stereotype there is. It offends me that I have to look at droopy jeans and shorts on young black men as I walk down the street. It offends me that southerners are looked on as toothless in-breds by our neighbors to the north who can’t get to the airport quickly enough to move into those same southern communities at their earliest opportunity. It offends me that Republicans, Democrats and Independents have placed our nation into the downward spiral that we are in, but it offends me more that we as an uninformed electorate continue to let it happen. It offends me that we argue whether a gun killed a kid or the person who pulled the trigger killed a kid….. a kid is dead! It offends me that each sub-pocket of our nation votes on their individual issue instead of the issues that will make our nation stronger and more viable as we move through the 21st century, yes I’m offended and those examples only scratch the surface.
African-Americans offend me, Greek-Americans offend me, Hispanic Americans, Irish Americans and LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ offends me. The sooner we become HUMANS the better off we will be and at some point may actually learn to live together.
It’s time that we as a nation grow up, put our big boy and big girl panties on and stop complaining. I don’t care if you are offended. What I care about is that we as a nation stop with the petty issues that are pulling us down and together move forward.
There are bigger issues that need to be addressed than monuments of history, individual interpretations of the Bible and the sins of my great-great grandfather.
It’s time we make a decision and we in the gay community can lead the way. We have a diverse community; let’s start with accepting everyone in our community. The fat guy, the diesel dyke, the Nellie queen, and leather daddy, there is room under the umbrella for us all, the rainbow spreads far and wide, let’s provide shelter for everyone.
Once we accept our own, then we can prove to be examples for the rest of the world, stop with the petty name calling, arguments and shunning those who have different beliefs than we do. It is time to work together, find those who support our cause and then together one heart one mind will change.
So yes, I’m offended, but more than that, I am hopeful that one day we will figure it out and learn to live together under one big rainbow sky.