Most of you are probably unaware of this fact, but someone very close to me has the AIDS virus. I found out about it 12 years ago, and he’d already been infected with HIV for at least a year by then. The struggle to stay silent and “in the closet” with such a horrible disease finally became too much for him and he reached out, first to his mother and then to other family and friends. His mother, who was raised in a more bigoted era and environment, accepted him immediately and without scorn. They both deserve much credit and blessing for their courage, and their refusal to allow society and religion to dictate to them who was a “good” person, or that some people are inherently “evil.”
I asked my relative on one notable prior occasion if he was gay, which he denied in spite of the fact that I had openly gay friends and exhibited no trouble accepting them. He tried, during his youth, to conform to community expectations and date girls (then women), but it never felt right to him. I’m not sure when he succumbed to his natural instincts to love another man, but I’m grateful that he was able to take the steps to ensure his personal happiness in spite of the implied pressure of friends, neighbors, and family.
For other people to assume the power to tell him that he cannot legally marry someone he loves, just because it’s “weird,” “queer,” or unconventional seriously pisses me off. I hate it when one religion (and let’s be honest, the anti-gay faction has always been motivated by religious principles) presumes to tell everyone else what is right. Haven’t we all had enough of Jesus being crammed down our throats? The very idea of Christianity being all well and proper and the only valid perspective in this country was out of date 200 years ago. This point of view rejects Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, and every other major religion – and let’s not forget the warring of the factions: Protestant & Catholic & Latter Day Saints, then further into Baptist (some of the worst of a loud lot!), Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Adventist, Lutheran, and all the other -isms. (And of course, Fundamentalism, which frankly makes me want to blow chunks from now until the Rapture.) I’m sorry, but if it comes down to it, I’ll fight for my right and anyone else’s right to be who they are, truly, and fuck you if you don’t like it. Try to stop me, and there will be blood.
(It all comes back to why I rejected the church in the first place. In high school, a friend of mine was killed by a cop while doing something very stupid – a youthful lapse in judgment from an otherwise nice kid. People abandoned him, post-mortem, in droves. One friend of mine spoke for the lot, “He made his bed, and he can lie in it,” the consensus being that he was hellbound and that was that. I was absolutely appalled at this: How could an otherwise good person be hellbound for one mistake that cost him his life? Are you fucking kidding me? That was it for me.
(I’d been struggling for a year or more with finding a way to God, including extended correspondence with a preacher who wrote some books in the 1970s, on preaching to gangs and street punks. I was truly seeking communion in the honest sense of the word. But after this event, the church was done for me. I never wanted anything to do with Christianity again. Ever.)
If you feel like I do… if you can open your heart to the essential goodness of all human beings at the most basic level, then please go to this website and take some sort of action. Read, vote, give, something. It’ll make a difference.
If you are a supporter of marriage equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, you can help.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.