Anyone who knows even a little of me is more than aware of my card carrying status within the LGBT community. This only made the following more difficult to make sense of; but I did.
The proposal of gay marriage, no pun intended, seems like quite a delusory pursuit. I have yet to meet a handsome prince with a cleft chin who wants to whisk me away to a castle laden with gold, commit me to his chastened loins and lavish my environment with diamonds and a freshly killed elk. While there are indeed a good number of successful and long term gay relationships, the evidence of those who portray us as constant denizens of the dark, cruising for sex, is far from minimal.
First the facts: somewhere between 40-50% of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce. While we gay folks often seek equality under the guise of being “just like everyone else”, why would we set ourselves up at such a fragile stage of gaining legal status in the United States by displaying that we too will fall under the umbrella of broken relationships. It’s a certainty that opposing forces will glue those statistics onto highway billboards as just another example of how we’re incapable of maintaining this most basic institution. It’s poised to be yet another example of how we are simply less than human to many influential, yet moronic people. And then something that recently took place shook me awake.
I’ve been witness to the proceedings of a marriage between two very fine women in New England during the past month or so. The “pretty” one had her blond hair done in ringlets down to her shoulders, adorned her hair with daisies and was beautifully draped in white satin. Her partner was donned in a classic black tux complete with cummerbund suspenders and a top hat. I couldn’t have slapped my forehead harder without damaging my frontal cortex.
I’ve spent a good deal of time explaining to straight folks that there is no “man-woman” role-playing in gay relationships. Obviously I was wrong. Why would anyone of our ilk not only succumb to, but embrace, such limiting stereotypes? And then I slowed down and something freeing came to me.
When two people, or more, come together in emotional , physical and financial commitment, the method in which they carry that out is simply no-one’s business. They may base their relationship on the prevalent model of monogamy; they may not. They may become equal financial partners in all their endeavors; they may not. They may retain and grow their relationship within the guidelines of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormon Polygamy, Taoism, and all the other isms; they may not.
The point is everyone should have the choice to create a legally binding contract with whomever they choose under whatever pretext they may have. We allowed United Airlines to marry Continental and create a monopoly of mass proportions in the airline industry, but we want to limit the “pursuit of happiness” for those who simply want to love one another and do so well within the confines of American law. We don’t ask men or women forming heterosexual marriages if they plan to be swingers, celibates, Communists, anarchists or satanists; it’s just an “inalienable right”. While no one is going to ask those questions of us in states like New York or New Hampshire, isn’t that really the not-so-subtle pretense of those who oppose it?
So, head for the Big Apple, go to Tiffany’s and buy the ring you can’t afford and make sure you pick up that white taffeta gown at Donna Karan. Sashay up that gangplank to board your cruise ship for the Caribbean and grab the first Mai Tai handed to you by the blonde Nordic purser. Head for your cabin and screech like cats being run over by a car and then put on that bikini and soak up all the melanoma you can.
I now pronounce you…….
We’re all too aware of the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. The onlooking crowds, the lawyers and press members quietly bemoaning the verdict’s injustice and of those well versed in legalese citing the “burden of proof” argument inherent in the judicial system as vindication. While both arguments are legitimate, it’s the lack of action and outrage from both sides of the fence that raises a huge red flag with me.
When the drag queens of Stonewall in the summer of 1969 had had enough of police profiling, the distribution of publicly humiliating photos and lists of the names of its patrons along with the obvious fallacies of the law as written regarding gay folks, they simply said NO! And in no small way either. They barricaded themselves inside the bar, thus defying the harassment of the police while ultimately venturing outside to physically and verbally demand their equality and the right to simply be left alone in “the pursuit of happiness”.
In the late 60’s there was an unlicensed after hours bar in Detroit named the Blind Pig; frequented almost entirely of local blacks. The police profiled this bar because of the racial makeup of its patrons under the guise of enforcing liquor laws but they made one huge mistake. On the night of July 26, 1967 they decided to raid the place. What ensued were five days of demonstrations reeling in anger, violence and retribution. Those involved were simply not going to “take it anymore” as notably quoted from the film, “Network”.
While you may not agree with the manner in which these two events took place; there is an undeniably inflamed commitment by both groups to demand equal treatment within the law. The Revolutionary War was just that: a war. It was the refusal of a people to continue to be burdened with extreme taxes and unfair treatment by a monarchy which did little or nothing to ensure their well being. When an existing judicial system condones the practice of discrimination and alienation of any people, history shows us that a display of oneness and courage does indeed create change. Action produces results. The definition of courage is taking a stand even though fear is present in those trying to induce change. All of these groups were certainly unsure and afraid of what they were confronting, but they did it anyway. After countless measures well within the law to produce non-discriminatory legislation, they laid aside the niceties of being compliant and subservient. They did not wallow in the passion of apathy so evident in the silence of those unwilling to walk through their fears and demand change.
And here we are today. An errant mother accused of murdering her child who receives a not guilty verdict by a jury of her peers. While the verdict personally enrages me, the lack of vocal or physical response from the public who side with me is the epitome of apathy and the execution of a political correctness that ignores the validity of common sense. The shame of the jury is evident in their refusal to talk to anyone, the call for calm from the local police projects the fear of knowing that wrong has been done, and the silence of even her parents hints at the same shame; but I DO believe they all followed the law to the letter. Therein lies the rub.
I’ve received some concerned comments about condoning violence to reach resolution. I don’t know that I can calm those concerns. Believe that I wholeheartedly encourage going through the processes that exist first. The other side of that coin is that sometimes, and less often than not, something more than signing petitions, embracing lawmakers or massaging the quills of the opposition is necessary.
So when you’re stewing in your own juices about demeaning and obviously incorrect legislation, I urge you to stand up, walk through the fear, and make yourself known. Trust your gut and be heard.
Kirk Sparrow 7/6/2011