Here in the Bay Area, there are certain people — almost entirely men — who have a really bad attitude this entire Pride weekend each year. They are of the “why do they have to flaunt it” types. On the plus side, things really are better. Twenty years ago, two men holding hands would have been considered “flaunting it.” Today, I’m not sure what makes the cut — but it is a higher standard. It’s still sad that LGBT couples doing in public what octogenarian heterosexual couples do is still considered something that must be stopped. But I am glad to say that progress does continue to be made. And it continues to be made because the LGBT community has the bravery to “flaunt it.”
After the legalization of same sex marriage this last week, one response I’ve heard it, “I wonder what they’ll ask for next?” Because it’s always something, am I right?! It’s funny how asking for equality is framed by opponents as something special that is being asked for — as though same sex marriage is equivalent to asking to not have to pay taxes. But I try to avoid getting into arguments of these types. The people who say things like this are not open to rational debate. Their complaints are based on the most primal of fear and hatred.
But there is an obvious response: there is no “next.” The LGBT community is asking for equitable and humane treatment. Same sex marriage was just a small part of that. It wasn’t even the end of institutional homophobia. As of late last year, you could still be fired for being LGBT in 29 states! I’m proud to say that in the three states I’ve called home (and still feel at home in) — California, Oregon, and Washington — you cannot be fired for being LGBT. You can still be fired in “liberal” New York for being transgender. So I guess that “those gays” won’t be satisfied until they have equal rights to work in Texas; what moochers!
There is, of course, the issue of getting beaten, raped, and murdered because you happen to be LGBT. And I like to think that most of the people in the Bay Area who bristle over San Francisco Pride do not think that this kind of thing is okay. But what these people who don’t want homosexuality “flaunted” need to understand is that all of these issues are related. Same sex marriage is about equality, but it is also about making homosexuality no big deal. When sexuality and gender identity become just another of the endless idiosyncrasies of humanity, it will stop bothering people.
Above all, what boggles my mind is that people don’t see that the problem is reversed. The problem isn’t with the LGBT community, but with those who are offended by it. It has never moved an argument forward for me, but I have asked many people, “Why do you care?” In the past, I have heard responses about pseudo-scientific reasons such are scarring children. People are less and less likely to use these excuses. Now they usually respond, “I don’t. It’s just…” It’s just what? They aren’t too clear on that, but I know what they want to say, “It’s just that they creep me out.” Or: “It’s just that I don’t like it.” And all that means is that it is all about the anti-LGBT people. It’s just that they don’t understand that.