This morning I checked my Word Press Reader looking for interesting blog posts, and came across – I won’t call it a rant, it was much too civilized for that – a one-hour old post by someone who seemed befuddled by the need gay people feel to speak out and be heard. I’m sure you’ve heard similar, and much worse.
This person (whose blog shall remain nameless) began by taking issue with the use of words like “gay”, “straight”, and “in the closet”. In her opinion, using them to mean things other than “happy”, “the opposite of crooked”, and “put away” was uneccesary and made her uncomfortable. She cited the Spring Break/Mardi Gras-like behavior at Pride parades to express dismay about seeing things she didn’t want to see. She conveyed how mystified she felt that gay people would actually feel the need to act like (her exact word and use of capitalization) “NORMAL” people by seeking to get married.
As bad as it sounds I swear to you, it was one of the least inflammatory of these types of posts I’ve ever seen. She said she was about to leave on a two month trip but would leave comments open. She said she would not reply to any comments but would also not block them. No one had posted yet, so I wrote this:
“I can only say that you must have no knowledge of the oppression these individuals have faced or you wouldn’t be so confused, and I hope that you will do some research into it. People react strongly to being told there is something inherently wrong with them when all they want are the exact same things everyone else wants: life, love and the pursuit of happiness. As for their alleged appropriation of words like ‘gay’, ‘straight’ and phrases like ‘in the closet’, that’s just the fluidity of language. ‘Cool’ doesn’t always refer to temperature, but did before the nineteen fifties. I hope you’re right and a ‘flame war’ will not erupt here. There’s too much of that on the internet already.
You seem like a reasonable person. Please, while you are away take time to read about the injustices that have been done to the LGBT population – murders; imprisonment; job discrimination; housing discrimination; denial of recognition of their emotional unions; denial of the right to raise their own children or to adopt; the inability to get health insurance coverage through their beloved’s employer; being kept from their loved one’s deathbed (even, sometimes, when they have POA); the loss of property after death because of the lack of a formal union; and on and on and on. Research it a bit, and when you get back from your hiatus write a follow-up post. I look forward to reading it.”
I checked back just now. The blog post is gone. I like to think that maybe I helped somebody understand another person’s point of view just a fraction more clearly. I’m primarily a fiction writer, blogging to build a platform, but you know, this non-fiction stuff is okay, too.
I’d even say it’s “cool”.