Discrimination

So this post has absolutely nothing to do with pregnancy, babies, or anything that I normally post about here on this blog.

This post has to do with ignorance, discrimination, and hate.

I’m on maternity leave (I lied, there’s a mention of something baby-related) which means I have to surf through hours of bad daytime television to find something to watch now that Ellen has moved to the afternoons here. So in my desperation, I landed on The Tyra Show. I have watched Tyra before, and instantly felt dumber for it. I vowed I wouldn’t watch it again, but the subject matter today caught my attention.

Recently, The Advocate put out an issue that claimed that “Gay was the new black” in the ways of civil rights and discrimination.
Before I begin this part of my post, I do have to say that I’m not ever sure which term to use when talking about race. I know that some people prefer “black”, while others prefer “African-American”. I usually use the term “black”, just because I know a lot of black people who have a problem with “African-American”.. Because they’re not from Africa, nor are their parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents. I’m also loathe to use the term “people of color”, because that too is just odd to me. Caucasian is technically a color, too, so why use the term “people of color” when we ALL have a color to our skin? I apologize in advance if the term offends anyone.
With the inauguration of our first black President, people have considered that to be a gigantic milestone in American history – something that many blacks never, ever thought they’d see in their lifetime. And they’re right. It was monumental, world-changing.. It was huge. Obviously discrimination against blacks is not “over” – it will never be over, unfortunately. Discrimination runs rampant in our world and I fear a degree of it always will.
Obviously, the civil rights movements in the 60s changed a lot of things. Interracial marriages are allowed where they were not in years past, same with voting.. Blacks are no longer sent to separate bathrooms and water fountains in public. So, I suppose what the Advocate means is that now that the civil rights movements for blacks have come so very far, they are now focusing on the rights of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities.

So the argument on Tyra’s show was if “gay was the new black”. They had three gay rights advocates, and three anti-gay advocates as sort of a “panel” on the show. The GLBT advocates were saying how unconstitutional it was to deny gays the right to marry, which I agree with. Completely. They brought up the legalization of gay marriage in California, and then the over-turning of that right known as Proposition 8. Think about it. The government gave gays and lesbians the right to legally sanction their unions with their partners; to join in marriage not only in the eyes of themselves and their friends and family but finally in a legally binding sense. I remember when I heard California passed that law, I was floored. I honestly never truly thought I’d see gay marriage legalized in my lifetime. Can you imagine what it’s like so be so in love with someone and have the desire to join with that person, share a last name with them and declare your love publicly and have that love recognized as something valid and legal….. Only to have that right ripped away from you? It’s not fair.

On the opposite side, the anti-gay rights advocates were hollering how “marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman” and talking about how the bible condemned gays, and all about God’s word says this, and God’s word says that. Two of the women on the panel actually said that gay cannot be “the new black”, because “gay people make a choice to be gay. Black people do not make a choice to be black.”

And here is where my big, fat problem comes in. When people say this… It enrages me. GLBT rights are something very near to my heart and they have been since I was young. I cannot fathom why people think being gay is a choice. Why in the hell would someone wake up one morning and think, “Boy, I think I’m going to live my life so that people see me walking down the street and want to beat me, hate me, and call me “faggot” or “dyke.” THAT sure does sound like fun!” Why would anyone in their right minds choose to live a life where they could be beat to death JUST because they happen to love someone of the same gender? It makes me sick. One of the GLBT advocates asked one of the other women, “So you made the choice to be straight if I made the choice to be gay, right?” and the woman said, “I didn’t have to make a choice, I’m a woman, I’m SUPPOSED to be straight.”

I consider myself a tolerant person, and I truly believe that everyone has the right to their own beliefs and morals. However, when your beliefs and morals cause someone else to lose their civil rights AS A HUMAN BEING, there is something WRONG with that. If you choose to believe that homosexuality is a sin.. I don’t understand it nor do I believe in that, but if you live your life in a way that is kind and courteous to all human beings I can’t truly begrudge you of your beliefs. But when you see a gay person and tell them they’re going to burn in hell, or that they shouldn’t have the right to live the same life as you, there’s something wrong with that.

Another thing that the “I’m supposed to be straight” woman said was in response to one of the GLBT advocates saying that “gay was the new black” and was comparing the fact that gay marriage is illegal in the constitution to the days when interracial marriage and owning slaves were also in the constitution. The “I’m supposed to be straight” woman (who was black) balked at that, declaring, “You can’t compare gay rights to slavery. Gays aren’t hung from trees just because they’re gay!”

I was sitting alone on my couch, and I actually yelled at the television. I’m sorry, gays aren’t what? They’re not beaten, raped, and tortured just because they’re gay? This woman has obviously never heard of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, tormented, tied to a fence and left to die just because he was gay.
She obviously has never heard of Barry Winchell, who was beaten in the head with a baseball bat
while he was sleeping (and later died due to massive head injuries) just because he entered a relationship with a transgendered person.
Then, of course, there is Angie Zapata who was beaten to death – first with fists, and then with a fire extinguisher – by a man whom had just found out that she was transgendered. Her murderer said things like he had made sure he had “killed it” before leaving in her car and that “gay things must die”.

How can a person hear these stories and not feel sorrow? These people, and countless others have lost their lives just because they are different than “the norm”. It makes me angry. It makes me so angry that there are people out there that think that just because a person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender that they don’t have the same rights as heterosexual people. I have a family member who is a part of the GLBT community. Stories like this turn my blood cold in the realization that people hate this member of my family so much, they would like to kill him.

Why can we not live in a world without hate? Without discrimination? Why can’t we just give everyone the same rights and have that be the end of it? I know that sounds idealistic and naive.. But seriously, why? Who am I, who are you, who is anyone to judge how someone lives their life? Love is love, people. Gay, straight, in-between, love is just that: love. How can the love that someone feels for another human being be wrong? Love is the one thing that exists in this world that is pure and good; you cannot spin love into an evil or ugly thing.

This post turned out to be longer than I thought. I just really cannot express strongly enough how disgusting I find it to be that in the year 2010, people are still discriminated against because of who they are. I hope one day to live in a world where discrimination against people of the GLBT community is a thing of the past. I want my daughter to be amazed that I lived in a world where gay people were denied the right to marry – just as I cannot fathom living in a world where blacks and whites were segregated and not allowed to marry one another.

One day, hopefully, love will overcome hate.