January 31, 2014 by Devin
Omnibus (adj): comprising several items
I have had a lot of thoughts concerning gay rights recently, but none of those thoughts individually were worth a whole blog post. So instead here is a short collection of random snippets of thoughts on this front that I felt were noteworthy enough to at least be talked about.
8 the Play
I am going to start this omnibus off with a bit of shameless self-promotion. Since last June, I have been attending Chattanooga’s own Unitarian Universalist Church, and they are putting on a reading of 8. For those unaware, 8 the play is based on the transcripts of the court case that determined whether or not California’s proposition 8 was Constitutional or not. And when I say based on, I mean most of the script is straight from the transcripts except for times when they cut to actual proposition 8 ads (like the one below) or short segments about the people involved in the trial.
It is not the best play ever, but it is really informative and may open your eyes to how this issue is being debated at the legal level. And if you can’t be at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Chattanooga at 7 PM on Friday, February 7th, at least check out the star-studded version that was released online.
“It’s the Constitution, stupid”
What I find most infuriating about the marriage equality debate is that it is clearly a matter of separation of church and state. If you look at the rhetoric surrounding the debate, the anti-marriage equality side is essentially, as Bill O’Reilley put it, “thumping their Bibles.” Seriously, try to imagine the anti-marriage equality arguments without any religion in them at all. Most of the arguments done like this often border on completely nonsensical (as I think 8 the play demonstrates).
Here is my main point: I do not care if you do not think God likes homosexuality. That is your religion, and you can believe whatever you want. That is between you and your faith. But I do care if you use that faith as a method of taking rights away from others, especially if you are oppressing people. I may not believe what you believe about life, the universe, and everything, so why would you expect me to follow the precepts of your faith? And why would you expect the government to conform to those precepts?
How to tell if you are a homophobe
It is only recently that I realized how accurate the term “homophobia” is. I used to think that that was a word that was thrown around a lot that meant something other than an irrational fear of homosexuality. I figured that that word really just meant that those people were doing things to limit the rights of homosexuals. Still not an awesome trait to have, but different from the strict definition of the term.
Then I saw ads like the one above and thought, “Wow, many people are actually scared,” and I realized how well that definition fits. Many people are actually scared of homosexuals and of their children even learning about homosexuality. If a kid came home and started talking about how cool Hanukkah was to her Christian mother, the normal reaction would be, “That’s great, but we don’t practice that for these reasons.” If the mother instead said, “What are they teaching you in those schools? How dare they even give you that information,” that would be an irrational fear of Hanukkah. My opinion of anti-marriage equality supporters has not changed that dramatically with this revelation, but I just found it interesting that yes, these sentiments are often coming from a place of actual fear of homosexuality.
Can allies have rainbow buttons?
This is really a logistics question more than anything else, but I just wanted to know if rainbow buttons automatically set off any gaydars or if people generally understood that rainbow meant supporters of gay rights as well as people proud of their homosexuality.
Because I kind of want a rainbow button, but I also don’t want to have to disappoint anyone.
Things are getting better
I know that there is still a long road ahead for gay rights, but I feel like there has been a lot of progress done recently for gay rights, and I am happy to be living in a time where that is the case. I mean, did you see Macklemore’s Grammy performance?
That was fantastic. That was a beautiful statement of togetherness and acceptance in a world where such blatant proclamations of acceptance are so rarely done. The Grammies are the most mainstream music event of the year, and those organizers were willing to make a statement saying, “This is not only okay, but this is beautiful.” I find that incredibly bold, but hopefully that statement will make further progress possible.
Disney also recently had a lesbian couple in one of their shows. If you have not seen this clip yet, you should.
I love that the joke of this scene was not, “Look, two moms, isn’t that funny?” The joke was instead on the heterosexual couple, saying, “Oh look how funny it is that they did not even consider that as a possibility. Aren’t they smart?” I love how the moment is so small and so normal, emphasizing that this is a lifestyle some people live and that that is not weird.
Finally, and this is just anecdotal evidence, but I have seen how people, especially young people, are frustrated with the discrimination that homosexuals face, even if those people subscribe to a religion that does not condone homosexuality. One of my friends who comes from a conservative background once told me, “I do not think it is okay, personally, but I don’t think that the government should take away other people’s rights.” And no, that is not the ideal answer, but I feel like many people from a conservative background are either, in light of recent developments, changing their view or simply exiting the conversation entirely to focus on treating people decently rather than worry about what they do in their own free time. I have a feeling that that is what the conservative movement will become, which is incredibly encouraging to me.
So those are my random thoughts about this issue. If you have anything you would like to add or comment on, please do so below. And if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, make sure to give my pages a follow for updates from this blog and musings on entertainment, religion, and everything else.
1. For those confused at why I would be attending a church, the Unitarian Universalist movement is not a creed-based religion, meaning that there are Jewish Unitarian Universalists, Christian Unitarian Universalists, Wiccan Unitarian Universalists, and yes, even atheist Unitarian Universalists.
2. And I know someone is going to try and claim that the United States is a Christian nation, so to save you time, I’ll just quote the Treaty of Tripoli, a document signed by James Madison and universally approved by Congress: “…the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”
4. But then again, I’ve never ever had that problem with heterosexual relationships.