Let’s Not Be Too Quiet: Gay Rights Are Human Rights

We took down our rainbow flag this weekend. We didn’t put it away because of pressure or because we don’t believe that our local youth need support. Scott has just gone all southern and wants to have a Halloween flag up for a bit, which I imagine our gay friends are okay with (except for the Yankee ones).

Still, I struggled with taking down the flag. I believe that straight people have to be loud and proud, too. LGBTQ rights are human rights — fairness, equality, dignity, kindness, love. I have supported gay rights for over a decade now. In fact, the Human Rights Campaign was the first group I donated money to in my adult life. We all need allies, and I’m glad to be one.

I was reminded why I write about gay rights, whether my flag is up or not, after watching this video of a solider telling his parents that he’s gay after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on September 20, 2011.

Both videos (he tells his parents separately) are worth watching but particularly the one where he tells his more conservative Christian mother that he’s gay. It’s 21 minutes long but set aside time — it’s honest and brave and should be seen. I also would watch him tell his father who handles the situation differently (and in a shorter amount of time).


(click here if you can’t see the video)

What struck me as the solider and his mom search for common ground and struggle to find it, is when he says to her: I’m still going to be able to have a regular life, Mom. And while the repeal of DADT is one step closer, I worry. After listening to his mom’s response, I worry.

I worry because gay youth, like Jamey Rodenmeyer, still commit suicide even when their parents are supporting them because they live in communities where parents are raising children who write:

“JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” and “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it 🙂 It would make everyone WAY more happier!”

Or at least I hope it was the children.

Do I think that one day there will be no bullies? No. I think that there will always be people who need to feel better than because they are so afraid inside. But I think when there is so much intrinsic support for treating people poorly, bullying doesn’t seem like a outlier. It’s okay. It’s just a joke. Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t be so politically correct.

Beneath the “jokes” are state laws banning gay and lesbians from marrying and adopting children, which reinforce that there is something terribly wrong with homosexuality. We can’t trust “those people” with children, with relationships. DADT is a beginning. So are the many states who allow adoption by gay and lesbian couples. But fertility clinics are still discriminating, and too few states allow marriage.

And beneath the laws are the matters of the heart and the spirit. Children are told that they are not right with God because of whom they love.  What choice are they given? To chose between God and love? I can’t imagine being told that my religion does not want me to be Scott. To be told that I must chose whether to love my husband or have a relationship with God when I see so much of God in my relationship with my husband. What hopelessness to hand anyone but particularly, an adolescent who doesn’t know yet that there are many ways to look at Christianity and the Bible, different religions and God.

My rainbow flag may be down for now for the moment, but my eyes are wide-open to the distance we have to go. And my voice is loud.

Earlier this week was National Coming Out Day. You aren’t alone or bad or wrong. Here are some resources if you’re questioning or struggling to tell someone.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

25 thoughts to “Let’s Not Be Too Quiet: Gay Rights Are Human Rights”

  1. The Jamey Rodenmeyer story sickens me. It just makes me feel physically ill.

    Excellent post, Alex. Gay rights are human rights, plain and simple, and no one should be denied them regardless of their sexual orientation.

    I’ll have to watch the videos later when I’m not at work.

  2. Gay? Schmay? When is the Straight Pride Festival? When My son came out he was terrified to tell me. I told him it doesn’t change a thing. They have to have a good credit history, a good health history and if they break his heart I break their neck.

    People are people. I have met some of the coolest people in the world at Gay Pride. I have also met the most narrow minded bigots ever who happen to be gay.

    “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.” has changed to “Can’t Tell. Don’t Brag”. I didn’t n

  3. Wait a minute, I wasn’t done yet.
    I didn’t notice any coupling up at the chow hall the day after DADT was repealed. I don’t care to know your sexual choices. Would you like to hear mine? I think not.

    I like the “lesbian” t shirt, “Yes We Are. No you can’t.” That is so healthy. I really don’t want to watch.

    I find it insightful that GLBT folks think my “Straight Pride” t shirt is in bad taste while they’re wearing the “Gay Pride” t shirt.

    Who’s being diverse now?

    1. I have to say, Walt, I agree with a lot of that. I’m not sure who’s the worse enemy for the gay community…homophobes or other gays.

      If I recall correctly, Neil Patrick Harris was in a relationship with his spouse for quite a while before he had to make a statement about it, and that was driven by “militant” gays wanting to force him to be public about it. I’ve also heard (without naming names) about gays in Richmond intentionally and negatively outing others.

        1. Is acceptance an all-or-nothing concept, though? And I’m not getting into the incest/animal/polygamy thing…I’m thinking more along the lines of gays bashing each other, of “breeder bashing,” and that sort of thing.

          I mean, what if your NPHs or the women down the street really don’t want to fly a flag and be out, loud, & proud, but just want to live their own lives? Is that wrong or selfish because they’re not standing up for the gay community?

          1. So this reply to your comment got oddly lost in the comment section and I’m cleaning up some posts so I’m fixing it (although my thoughts on the subject have changes and I think everyone has the right to not get involved in a cause even if it’s a cause that directly affects them):

            I think about that idea a lot. Are we bound to help others? Which others? How far do we go? Which causes? Must we if the cause directly affects us? If no, who speaks for us if we don’t speak for ourselves? At what point is ‘the fight’ over?
            I think every person should be able to search their hearts for that answer and not have it thrust upon them by anyone.
            For me, I think wanting to be left alone to live my own life in any circumstance (not just outing people) is probably selfish. But I’m still working out how wide the community I reach out to must be to be apart of the world without my immediate life being lost in ‘the cause’ – where the space of ‘unselfish’ is.
            I have a partial blog post on it on drafts. Perhaps it’s time to flesh it out.
            Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

  4. Would Jesus tell a gay that he was not loved? Never.

    That is what I model my attitude on…the unconditional, sometimes misunderstood, love of Christ.

    Government hates not having control of things…even who we love. It’s sickening.

  5. We’re all people. We all have feelings and love with our whole hearts. That’s what matters. Not who we choose to love. Everyone is equal and those who discriminate based on that sickens me.

    1. We are all people but that doesn’t mean we all like each other or have to care about what others want. I don’t believe in gay marriage because it’s how I was raised and it’s been the social norm forever for me it’s not a religious thing, it would be like asking me to accept Incest marriage. Even though both of those would not affect me personally I would not support them. Having said that do you support other forms of alternative love because if the answer is no or I don’t care then now you understand.

      Lastly that is a myth that everyone is equal. We are not equal in terms of abilities or even the law(example laws typically punish men more severely then women for the same crimes) I could cite numerous other example..

  6. I disagree. If that were true then the LGBT should be supporting Polygamy, Adult Incest couples(they exist), Bestiality(once again they have groups who view animals as partners not sex toys and even if people were just using animals as sex toys how is it any worse since we kill,eat,use them for entertainment,use them in experiments, keep them in cages and use them in dangerous occupations(police,military)), Prostitution, legalize all drugs..I could go on..and in every example I used there will be people who oppose it for one reason or the other. I don’t support gay rights because I have no reason too and also I feel gay rights is infringing on other peoples rights by forcing their sexuality on others.

    1. My friend got all excited about legalizing Gay marriage here in Nevada and was stunned when I said I opposed it. ” Why?” She asked. Because it’s excludes me. But you CAN legally marry a woman. But what if I don’t want to. What if we Love each other and I just want to get her health benefits, or legal rights? I use the “Two people in Love” argument all the time. We should have “rights” too. So what if I Love someone and want them to join my other wives. We Love each other that’s the standard right? But she is 12. Is that all right? Which is actually pretty old for a dog but we need health insurance for her.
      Where do we draw the line without excluding someone? Some folks have relationships with dolls and furniture.

      1. In the cases that you’re listing (underage, animals, etc.) it’s a question of legally being able to give informed consent to something. People who are underage are not able to sign a legally binding contract, neither are animals. It rather precludes them from being able to be married. The “slippery slope” arguments are the same ones that were given by people who didn’t want to allow interracial marriage too. Happily for us, we can see that they’ve failed to materialize.

        As it stands right now, heterosexual couples enjoy certain legal protections that are difficult, expensive, or not available to homosexual couples due to marriage being something they cannot legally engage in. That, right there, is discrimination. If you want to argue that polygamy among a group of consenting adults should be allowed, well, I can see that argument, and from a rights perspective, have no issue with it. It’s when you start using the underage, bestiality, innanimate argument that it breaks down to just covering for something else.

    2. Well according to that logic, heterosexual marriage started the ball rolling so we shouldn’t allow that.
      Or is it interracial marriage?
      I just don’t think of gay marriage as grouped with the ‘relationships’ you listed or as the catalyst for your ‘slippery slope’ argument, just as you don’t see heterosexual marriage (between a consenting adult man and consenting adult woman) as the being the same as your list.

  7. Awesome post. Gay rights are basic human rights. All people deserve the same fundamental right regardless of who they love or date or marry. It’s sad that there is legalized discrimination in this country (states that outlaw gay marriage, for example). I watched the video you posted and I have to say that soldier is incredibly brave and I think putting that video out there may reach and touch many peoplea!
    Sarah @ made in usa challenge

  8. The who Jamey Rodenmeyer thing is beyond horrible! I never have understood why people are so passionate about hating people because of who they love or are attracted to. It should not matter whether we are gay, straight, black, white, have a disability, etc. we should appreciate the gifts the person brings to the world. It always angers me that we have not made more progress when it comes to treating each other better.

  9. Many many moons ago I was brought up in a very conservative Christian home. We were taught by our church that homosexuality was a sin & all of those who CHOSE to be gay we’re going to hell. I remember the outrage on special Sundays where we would pray against the homosexual agenda that was trying to take over our schools. Even in my own home we had a “DADT” policy within in my extended family because I had THREE gay uncles.

    But as I have gone throughout life & have had my own experiences that have caused me to question some of the ideas that I had been taught I have found myself on the complete other side when it comes to homosexuality.

    I will say however, I am still not sure if God views it as a sin & I don’t try to answer that question anymore. BUT what I do know is that gays are people and they deserve the same respect, kindness & love that other human beings feel they are entitled too. And when I think about how I used to a participant in the Christian agenda I feel sickened.

    Recently I posted a picture on my blog that made me bawl when I first saw it. I wish that other Christians could adopt this same thinking.

    http://beforethebabywakes.com/2011/07/what-rox-my-sox/ (the last picture)

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