Friday, November 05, 2004

I Was a Twenty-Something Gay Basher

Sadly, we're hearing a lot of gay bashing on the left right now. People saying we lost the election because of gays or gay marriage or Gavin Newsom or the Massachusetts courts. Therefore, it's argued, gays rights aren't a losing issue, they're a dead issue.

But why should we give up the battle? Did those fighting against segregation say, well, we'll just have to give up and wait until we have a friendlier audience? Do we ditch unpopular views, despite their rightness, because they're unpopular? Because they may cost us another election? Not, I think, when human rights are concerned.

No, the answer is simple (if difficult to execute): Education. Education. Education. Educating people to the facts about homosexuality. They think they have the facts, but they don't. But that education takes time and effort. I'm willing to admit that this frustrates me, and, add to that, now I'm rather demoralized by this election. But, if I truly care about my fellow human beings--regardless of the sexual orientation *or* their political affiliation *or* their religious beliefs, I have to be willing to reach out and engage in dialogue, to continue answering the questions and arguments raised by those who oppose, not just gay marriage, but homosexuality itself. Because these arguments can be answered. And (some) people can change their minds.

How do I know? Well, I was raised fundamentalist Baptist, so I know how the religious right thinks. How religious? I attended Bob Jones University. Earned two degrees there.

At one time I was very anti-gay and would've have thought the very word "homophobic" nothing more than PC BS. My freshman year at BJU I told one of my friends that "gays ought to be lined up and shot." He said, "Oh, you mean people like my brother?" I literally stopped in my tracks, and for once I began to think and having begun to think, I couldn't turn back. Now, my thoughts on homosexuality are likely more liberal than my friend's. At that time, I probably would've used some of the same arguments about "religion and the Bible say this" and "no culture has ever done that," too. People offering those arguments to me don't realize I've already heard them *all* before.

Problem is my thinking was challenged and I changed my mind. Because to believe those things, I had to ignore the facts and a helluva lot of science. You come to realize that just because people believed something for hundreds, even thousands of years, that doesn't make it right. You get to know some gay people and realize that the popular representation of the so-called "gay lifestyle" isn't even accurate. That gay people live "normal" lives all over America. You realize that promiscuity may be unhealthy, perhaps you want to maintain that it's "wrong," but you can't argue that homosexuality equals promiscuity. Because straights are promiscuous, too. And just as not all straights are promiscuous, neither are all gays. And you realize, that the so-called "gay agenda" is simply for gay people to enjoy the same rights the rest of us do.

If I can change my thinking, others can, too. Anti-gay sentiments simply don't hold up under the scrutiny of reason.

But to dispel them, it's going to take a lot patience and hard work. Education.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From one former BoJo to another - thanks man!