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.