Sunday, January 22, 2012

To Discussion, Always

Related reading: Gender and Sexuality, Opening the Closet

A few weeks ago, a classmate an I were discussing same-sex marriage for a history assignment. I told her I was having trouble writing my bit, because I honestly didn't understand why anyone would be against same-sex marriage. Don't get me wrong; I understand that people are against it, and I understand that intelligent people are against it. I just hadn't heard any argument that actually meant anything to me.

She explained that in her family, it was considered against family values.

"What makes family values good?"

"Well, what makes them bad?"

And I entirely froze up. She had established that family values meant the values her church held in relation to family, and so any answer to that question felt horribly insulting. However, we were both trying to clearly and honestly communicate our views, so I believe that my knee-jerk reaction was wrong. I should have spoken, so I will speak now.

I believe in freedom of religion until it hurts someone. People are hurting. Imagine, for a moment, that you couldn't marry the person you love because of your respective whats. Not who you were, not that you were incompatible, but simply that one of you was a different race, or that you were both the same sex. Imagine not being granted visitation rights, or inheritance rights, or not being able to get the most important person in the world a green card.

Of course, I'd bet that not all of my readers need to imagine.

I drew the parallel between those against same-sex marriage and those against miscegenation. I've been told that I shouldn't bring up racial issues when discussing sexuality issues, because they are too inflammatory. To this I say: they are inflammatory. Inflammation of the body means that one's immune system has spotted an issue, and is helping to heal it. We need times of tumult, because we need the issue to be visible. Different rights for different people should stick out like a sore thumb--but, and this is important, it doesn't. There was a time when separate but equal didn't seem obviously wrong.

I do not call family values bad, as a whole. Even if I wanted to do so, I could not. I have never found two people who agree on what family values are, save something that aids family stability. I believe that family stability is an admirable goal. The only place I could see an exception is when the family is toxic--in which case I'd argue that it isn't stable. If one needs fear to keep stability, that is not stability. That is slowed decay.
This has been said, but it always needs saying: It gets better.

Part of this is my optimism showing. I believe people are good. I believe that each culture gets better, if far too slowly for my tastes. We see the wrong of a decade ago. We will see our cultures wrongs a decade hence, because we will have improved.

But there is more than that. Even if, somehow, nothing were to change, it would get better for you. There are about seven billion people in the world. Given sufficient numbers, any minority can reach critical mass. It may be hard to remember; your people may be hard to find, but stay alive. I found my music geeks; I found--many!--communities of those who accept bisexuals. In the grand scheme of things, my life is likely far from over, and already I know where I can go for community. Whatever you need, you can find it.

Keep living. Keep looking.

You are not alone.

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