rm (rm) wrote,

equality isn't actually a subject for debate

I live in a country where it is illegal for me to have the same rights as a cisgendered person in a heterosexual relationship. That's what the Defense of Marriage Act and a host of other laws addressing the lives of GBLTQ people mean.

But here's the thing -- and I assume this is preaching to the choir, but one never really knows who is going to stumble on my livejournal -- actually all this DoMA and related stuff effects you, the cisgendered straight people too.


Because you never, ever know what your life is going to look like.

Now, I'm not saying you're going to turn gay all of a sudden, and we certainly don't recruit. (Have you looked at my journal? When would we have time to recruit?) But I think most of us -- that's us humans -- reach a point in our lives, where we look around and we go "wow, this isn't how I thought it was all going to turn out."

Because yeah, I fell in love with a girl when I was nineteen, but I also spent years of my twenties desperately in love with men and wanting baby after baby.

I never thought I would be anything but a journalist. I never thought I would have an abortion. I never thought I'd one day put on a suit that didn't have darts and have it fit me perfectly. I never thought I'd have pets. I never thought I'd live in Harlem. I never thought I'd get diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I never thought I'd be an athlete. I never thought that my parents would adore my same-sex partner more than any boy I ever brought home.

I never thought.

Most of us don't.

My parents certainly never thought their kid would be gay.

So whoever you are reading this, if you haven't figured it out yet, your life is going to surprise you.

And until a whole bunch of laws change, one day (if it hasn't happened yet, if it doesn't happen all the time), you're going to be sitting in a bar or at brunch or in a friend's living room or in your parents' kitchen and you're going to realize that somehow, for some reason, you and someone else in that room aren't equals under the law. And, whether you come out ahead in that equation or not, if you really take a moment to understand what that means, it's going to chill you to the bone.

I live in the United States of America. And it's illegal for me to be treated as equal to some of you.

Now, the other point I want to address -- and that's what I'm doing, addressing this so I don't go into our living room and start ranting at my girl, AGAIN, about DoMA and Obama and how much we've fought for and how much we just haven't won yet, and how we can't wait because it's not fair that people can pass through this world without even knowing the legal semblance of equality and its cultural connotation of respect -- is that my equality as a human being isn't up for discussion.

Sure, the pundits can talk about it, the churches can preach. Obama can say the country has to move together to an understanding on this issue. I can be made abstract, and I can be told I am impatient or politically immature. Hell, my government can even issue legal arguments that imply I'm a dog-fucking pedophile.

But here's the thing. My equality? Not up for the discussion. Because I am as just as good as you. I am not lesser for my nature, nor simple for the rhetorical necessity of this focus on identity. I possess the same basic animating force as anyone else.

So y'all can debate about it all you want, from morals to timelines of acceptance.

But it doesn't change anything.

Doesn't change me.

Doesn't change the fucking ferocious dignity LGBTQ learn to live with from the moment they recognize they are somehow perceived as other, eventhough, you know, we're not.

We're just like you: mundane, over-worked and forgetting to pick up milk at the grocery store. We're just like you: awed at simple beauty and the various stupid and absurd poignancies of the human condition.

So yeah, debate it all you want. But it doesn't matter. Because it's not that you're wasting our time; it's that you're wasting yours.

So let's get over it and get this shit fixed.

The thing about stuff like DoMA is this: it's embarrassing.

It diminishes us.

And by us I don't mean LGBTQ people, I mean everyone. I mean it makes us look like a nation of frightened children.

And maybe we are.

We all are, sometimes, in the dark. But sometimes the only way to deal with fear is just... to pretend we're not scared and force ourselves to breathe until the morning comes.

We can do that, can't we? The myth of America extends that far, right? Sea to shining sea? Manifest destiny? All that bullshit? Maybe equality can be the new West. Sound like a plan?

Time to get on with it then, because the fear is so deeply unbecoming both our nation and our natures, and I for one expect better than that.

Not just of me. But of you.

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