Tag Archives: gay

Gay Rights: Right Now

Last week, President Barack Obama finally came around and endorsed gay marriage. It’s now a platform on the national stage, which I never would have seen happening 10 years ago.

It was 14 years ago that Matthew Shepard was found beaten to death on a lonely stretch of fence in Laramie, Wyoming. I will never forget that story, or learning of it.

On a long-view perspective of who we’ve been as a people, and for how many centuries, I’m proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time. Here we are, gay marriage as a platform in the 2012 American elections. Wow.

But as someone living in the moment, looking around, I know that every day some act against some gay someplace keeps the scales of justice tilted, and no matter how far along we are, when the laws keep saying They Are Not Really Equal, then the haters keep having reason to believe they’re in the right, that gays are different.

And they’re not. Gays who want to marry are just more people who want security, love, companionship, romance, and a ring on the finger. Gender shouldn’t matter.

It’s not about religion, because religion isn’t supposed to be a part of the constitution. What you believe, you have every right to believe, but it’s not something to govern a multicultural nation under.

There’s a reason church and state were separated in the birth of the United States. After all, America was formed by people who largely left their home to avoid persecution for practicing their faiths. The last thing they wanted was for the country to be ruled by anyone’s religions, since they knew on a personal level how individual such beliefs were.

So, if religion can’t be a part of the argument, and God gave everyone free will, and the constitution declares all people are equal, then it seems to me the answer’s pretty simple: Gay marriage is a question between consenting adults, and a matter for a tax attorney. Wake up and smell the new millennium.

For me, it’s simple. I believe opposing LGBT rights isn’t just denying the right to marry, it’s endorsing hate.

By disallowing equality, we are suggesting that LGBT persons are lesser-thans, that they don’t deserve protection, fairness, kindness, or a life lived unharassed.

And nothing could be further from the truth.

If God disapproves of gay marriage, then let him sort that out in the afterlife, that’s his job, not yours. Here on Earth, let people use the free will Christians so loudly proclaim was God’s first gift to man.

The hypocrisy sickens me.

Can we just evolve now?

Pride Day in Vancouver

The Canadian government has been keeping its nose out of people’s bedrooms since 1969. Since then, any consenting adults could have any sex they like, provided the participants were of legal age, not dead, and not an animal. Basically.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

From Confederation to 1969, under Canada’s criminal law, homosexuality was punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In 1969 the law was amended by exempting from prosecution 2 consenting adults of at least 21 years of age who engaged in these “indecent acts” in private. Since then, the speed of social change in attitudes toward homosexuality has accelerated because of general tolerance (eg, for common-law couples and single parents) and organized gay liberation campaigns.

Many Canadians no longer consider homosexual acts “indecent.” At the time of the 1985 edition of this encyclopedia, one province and several cities had enacted laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. By 1996 the majority of Canadian provinces had legislated against discrimination, as is also the case in the internal rules of numerous public and private institutions ranging from churches to universities to Canada Post to major banks. The Canadian military have gone much further than the American military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy by banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. When the age of consent for vaginal and oral sex was lowered to 14 in the criminal code, consent for anal sex remained at 18, until a high court decided in 1995 that this distinction unlawfully discriminated against homosexuals.

Gay rights have taken a long time to evolve, despite that forward-thinking law. Vancouver, however, has been considered a very “pro-gay” city for a long, long time.

Some could argue there are aspects of the “noses out” policy that are lip-service more than reality, and cite examples like Little Sisters’ Bookstore’s epic legal battles to get materials across the border without being tapped with some vague obscenity legalities.

They’d be right, too.

But today we celebrate how far we’ve come, and we’ve come a long way, baby.

My best friend’s been out for 10 years now. Mostly out, anyhow. Mostly’s pretty good, when it involves his career and community services. The only people who don’t know would seem to be choosing ignorance, at this point.

And that still happens.

Tomorrow, we worry about that.

Tomorrow, we remember that there are places gays don’t marry, don’t get accepted, can’t live out loud, and have to fear repercussions for being themselves.

Tomorrow, we acknowledge the idiocy that is religious sanctimony that believes “gay” can be doctrined out of ungodly homosexuals.

Tomorrow, we remind ourselves that even in forward-living towns like Vancouver, gay-bashings happen, discrimination continues, and education needs improving.

Today’s about it being today. It’s about the fact a gay female judge can flirt with the girl contestants on a mainstream show like American Idol and it not won’t be a controversy. It’s about gay marriages gaining steam in America. It’s about men holding hands in the streets without being worried about the average person attacking or slandering them.

Today, it’s about the change we’ve seen, so that, tomorrow, when we’re daunted by how far is left to go, we can know it’s less a journey than it once was, and that’s something to take pride in.

Today, it’s also about being proud to be a Canadian, and living in a country that said, 41 years ago, that governments had no right to tell anyone who they could love.

That’s what today’s about.

Pride, baby.

Happy 10th, M, and anyone else who’s come out at work, with friends, or with family. Way to represent.


How Out is Out?

My best friend is Gay. If there was a three-dollar bill, he’d be on it, he’s that queer.

Okay, well, maybe he’s a little less queer than that. He can fix a bike, rewire a phone, install a sink, and other useful things like that. Then again, he’s on an eBay buying tear and recently nearly fainted with glee when he “won” a signed photo of Julie Andrews seated on a grassy meadow with the Von Trapp girls all gathered around her.

The man’s a proud gay man and has been politically active and really lives with his lifestyle on his sleeve, and that I greatly admire. He’s never come out to his parents, though, and this bothers me. His parents would have to be blind, dumb, and mute to not have ever clued in to the fact that he’s gay, but it’s never been discussed.

I just don’t understand. He knows I feel this way. I’m concerned, because I love my friend and I know how much his parents mean to him, but I also know what it’s like to lose a parent suddenly. Of all the things I’m saddened by regarding the death of my mother, the least of them are regrets. There’s nothing I never told her, there’s no thing I wish I’d been more honest about. When she died, she knew me for who I was, in every way, from my use of drugs to my lack of motivation. She loved me anyhow and told me she was greatly proud of me the day before she died. I hold onto that. I was loved, I was appreciated.

I realize a lot of parents freak out when their kid comes out. I know it’s a huge, huge ordeal and can be a very traumatic event in the life of any gay person, but I think that the disappointment and regret of never having come out is more of a burden to carry through life than the idea of living an honest and open life is.

Gay rights have always been something that has been a bit of a passion for me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have never gone down on a woman. I think it’s highly unlikely I ever will. Nothing about it titillates me. Seldom has a woman ever, ever aroused me. It’s just not my thing.

It doesn’t mean I can’t understand the hardships faced by a person who’s stuck being attracted to “the wrong sex.”

When I was in elementary school, there was a boy I’ll call Nicky. He was pretty flaming, from the get-go. He was the one that introduced us all to Dead or Alive’s “Spin Me Around.” He dressed up as Boy George for Halloween – in grade 7. In high school, he was obviously somewhat feminine, but he had an incredible personality and just radiated good times. The high school, though, was Catholic. And it was all about football. The jocks ran the school, and everyone was under their rein of tyranny. Gay wasn’t trendy then, and Nicky was obviously the only kid in school who fit that bill.

This was in about 1988.

Nicky was remarkably intelligent and great at expressing himself. He had this ever so light British twang, having been born in the UK but moved here when he was one. His voice was distinct. Out of everyone from high school, he’s the person I most wish I could get in touch with. He used to call me Ditch Girl after having thrown me in a ditch in Grade 3. We made up, but the nickname lasted for a decade.

He wore his politics on his sleeve, despite the mockery and humiliation he faced daily through the school kids. He got more political with age, and ultimately was selected as a guest on a popular sex/romance-related radio show that soon went national. He was 16, and was speaking on behalf of gay teens in British Columbia.

The appearance didn’t stay secret, despite his last name not being used. Monday morning, the news made its way around school. The football jocks took issue with having a Famous Faggot in their midst. Nicky was pinned against lockers and a beating was about to ensue.

“Go ahead. Beat the shit out of me. Want AIDS? I’m a fag, right? You’ve come to the right place, you fucking bigot! You can punch me and hurt me, but I’ll kill you with AIDS,” he exclaimed.

Nothing like using someone’s ignorance as a weapon, I thought then and still think now. Nicky was left alone. The less-ignorant kids in school admired the shit out of him, and though his remaining school days weren’t all sunshine and roses, they were made more tolerable by the considerable balls he exhibited that day in the hall.

His family knew, his friends knew, and those of us who understood the struggles he endured to become that person – that out and honest individual that filled us with admiration – probably became better people as a result of just having him in our lives.

A couple years back, a gay man was beaten to death here in Vancouver. It shook my friend to his core. I know he’s experienced times when he’d be taking out the trash to the back alley behind the gay bar he once worked in, when fuckheads would wheel up in their redneck cars and hurl pennies at him and call him a fucking faggot. He hasn’t let it silence him; he still lives as a proud gay man – he just hasn’t discussed it with his folks.

We’re kidding ourselves if we think everything’s fine and good just ‘cos some notable queers have made it onto the television in recent years. It’s a laugh if you think it’s all well and good for a gay person to be obviously gay in the workplace. Not too long ago, one of my original readers had a posting on his blog in which he started a controversy because he was all proud his coworkers and employer said he was a nice quiet fag who wasn’t too obviously gay. He thought this meant he was professional. I thought it meant he was conforming to fit into the nice little hetero peg that most of society still thinks we all need to fit into.

The Guy tells me occasionally about this coworker he really likes, this flamboyant and fun gay guy at his office. It doesn’t bother the Guy at all that he’s gay. Why should it? Being gay isn’t something anyone anywhere should have to hide – in work, in families – ever.

Until people begin telling their parents, telling their coworkers, and really start having the courage to live out loud, homophobia’s going to persist in our society. And that’s wrong.

Until we finally start seeing evidence that, yes, it truly is one in 10 that is gay in this society of ours, we will continue seeing senseless deaths like this young British man who was murdered by a couple fucking bigoted bastards who deserve the life sentences they’ve just received.

When friends and family members come out, you owe it to them to get over yourself and understand the struggle they’re facing, and provide them the support they damned well deserve. More than a third of teenage suicide attempts come as a result of them feeling so alone because of their sexual identity crises. Isn’t it time we change the statistics?