March 25, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

(Image Credit: Paul Frederiksen)

I am seeing, time and time again, homosexuality as the last great frontier where folks can place their  deep-seated frustrations and anger. Folks can no longer rail against "the black agenda" for fear of being labeled "racist".  Hey, wait a second......  look right here..... this is a group we can pummel!  The Spoken Word of God hath commanded it so! (Sidenote: Folks, your homophobic rants on Facebook are not as private as you may believe.)

Yes, homosexuals are an easy, acceptable target. Particularly disturbing to me, is how folks use the Bible as their justification or explanation for this hatred.  And yes, it is a hatred.  If you feel so strongly that an entire group of individuals should be denied their civil and human rights when granting these rights would have absolutely no direct effect on your own situation??  Then yes.  I would vehemently argue that you do, indeed, harbor a hatred for that person.  Particularly, when you are parsing out scripture from an ancient text that supports your stance, but then you choose to ignore a vast amount of scripture which condones and in some cases, supports slavery and spousal abuse (not even including a long, sad list of other misogynistic stances.)  

I used to chuckle at the entire "Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner" mantra that religious folks love to trot out as a demonstration of their open-mindedness and solemn forgiveness.  The mantra completely misses the point because the entire concept of sin implies an action in which the sinner chose to participate.  Breaking news! Gays and lesbians are who they are, there was no choice in the matter.  To hate the sin?  Is to hate them.

Why do I care?

Because it is personal.  So very personal.

Not so very long ago, my own marriage was illegal in 16 states and my children were considered an abomination. A special court case (Loving v. Virginia) had to be won in 1967 that eventually overturned laws against interracial marriage.   Furthermore, no one dares to say anything to my face, but I still come across folks who do not approve of my interracial marriage.  I can visibly see shoulders relaxing when folks find out my married surname is Anglo and that my husband is from an ethnic group that is Christian.  Even in my own family, it made Manoj's entrance a little smoother.  Pay no mind to that fact that watching children starve on the streets in India ultimately turned my husband away from Christianity.  He is Christian in name and that, apparently, is good enough.

However, my stance on gay marriage goes a little further than my own unconventional marriage.

I am a mother.  And this is where I always feel a little sick to my stomach, when I see other mothers bashing gays and lesbians.  How can a mother do that?

I will never forget looking into Arun's eyes when he was a newborn and realizing that I wanted him to have whatever sort of life he wanted.  And that included the right to build a life with the person he loves.  What was particularly earth shattering to me is when I realized that yes, I would be sad for Arun if he was homosexual. But not for the reasons you think. No.  Not at all. You see,  I would not be upset that my son desired men.  Instead, I would be heartbroken knowing that my son would have a harder life because of how our homophobic society would treat him.  A society that would attempt to deny him a simple happiness of creating a life.  Having the right to create a family. Having the right to make medical decisions for a loved one.  Having the right to inheritance.  Having the right to be seen by our government as an entity. 

That moment was life-changing for me and I still remember it.  I was sitting in my chair, nursing him. It was mid-morning, so the sun had lit up our living room.   And my world was rocked with the realization of it all.  And I knew then, that I could never be quiet about my support for the gay and lesbian community again. 

Ever.

Last year, I was watching an episode of Oprah which featured the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.  The love and adoration this couple displays for each other always brings me to tears.  I sat and cried, with tears streaming down my face as I watched the show.  Arun asked me why I was crying.  I said, "Look at them, Arun.  They are so happy and they love each other so much."

The Love.  Do not forget the Love.

35 comments:

MLE said...

Wild applause from me.

Maybe it was growing up the child of hippies, with an openly gay next door neighbor who lived with his partner, but I have never in my life understood why anyone would want to deny rights to people who just want to be free to love who they love and have it be recognized - just like everybody else.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

~ifer said...

I hate the hatemongers. And as a conservative Christian, one of the things I hate the most is that they give the impression that they speak for the rest of us. Sometimes I just want to shout "you don't speak for me!".
I hate that now, because of a select bigoted few, people who don't know me automatically tend to lump me in with the haters.
I firmly believe that everyone should be free to live their life and be happy.
Do I have my personal set of beliefs? Absolutely. But they are just that, personal. If others choose not to believe the same as I do, that is their right. Just as it is my right to choose not to believe the same as they do.

I am sorry for this novel of a comment, but it is a topic that really gets under my skin. I want to know when they decided that my God was a god of hate, and not the God of love that I believe in.

Paula said...

Beautifully written. I could not have said it any better. Love, Mom

Melanie said...

UGH my comment didn't post (that i so carefully wrote out)! well said!

Amanda said...

Very well stated.

I think marriage is something that you have to trudge through, no matter what your background. I was raised in a Protestant family and I married a Catholic. Society didn't bat an eye, but, boy, did a lot of family members kick up a fuss. It was worse for my husband because I wasn't the first to non-Catholic in the family, but I was the first that didn't convert, could quote Bible verse, theology, and saint's lives better than those who had been raised in the church. 10 years later, we have a strong marriage, and things have worked out well. Ties that needed to mend did, ties that needed to be broken were. It just seems like something all couples, regardless of orientation, must go through to build a lasting bond of love and build a marriage.

As for gay marriage, if it ever comes time to have it on the ballot in our state, you bet that I will be down at my voting location in favor of gay marriage. Who can define true love and say what will make people happy?

Well said, Cagy.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

This is one of your best posts ever. Seriously.

Sara B. said...

Thanks Kelli, I'm expecting a child in 6 weeks and you brought me to tears with your story of Arun as a newborn. I appreciate it when other mothers speak out and I'll be standing right next to you in support.

margot said...

Long time lurker here...I think it's worth pointing out there is a HUGE difference in opinion about sexuality in general in different parts of the country. I've lived in NY, Seattle, Minneapolis, Madison and Chicago and in all of those places, being gay is just such a non-issue. Gay parents send their happy, well-adjusted children to schools that welcome and support them, people date whomever they want and work wherever they want. It's really only a matter of time before it's legal in such states. Unfortunately, I think people here forget how easy it is and gloss over the immense torment gays experience in much of the rest of the country.

It's really heartbreaking and is absolutely 100% akin to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's.

Thank for taking a stand and putting your opinions out there.

flybunny said...

Well said, very well said.

I am not very passionate about very many topics (usually just have my opinion and go about my business) but this is one that really strikes a nerve with me.

I don't give a rats fart in space who loves who and who marries who and nor should anyone else LET ALONE the government OR "the church". I think Miss Zoot said this and I fully agree -is someone's marriage who does not believe in God not a marriage??? "The church" wouldn't recognize it but the government does....

The thing of it is EVERYONE makes different lifestyle choices and they make those choices based on who they are and what is right for them. Live and let live or in this case, love and let love.

Bethany said...

This is something that has been on my mind lately. I've been trying to figure out how I feel about gay marriage. It seems like a non-issue to me. By that I mean- what's the big deal? Why not let gays marry?

Like you, I look at my children and would be sad if one of them were gay. Sad because their life would be more of a struggle for things we take for granted- love and family.

I'm a Christian but I just can't believe God hates people because they are gay.

D. Jain said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I can't think of a post of yours I love so much as this one. I whole-heartedly agree with every word of this. I just cannot imagine how one comes to harbor such hatred for other people, people who cause them no harm, people who are loved and loving. It just makes me so sad and angry every time I think about it.

Olivia said...

Brava!
Ditto!
What she said!
Amen sister!

Kate said...

Amen. I always felt strongly about this, but when I became a mother, holy cow. Just the thought that my son could be subject to the kind of hatred gays and lesbians face today...

I take comfort in the fact that the world is changing. And that's why I do what I can to help in the fight for equal rights.

Thank you for this beautiful post.

Miriam said...

Bravo!!!

D. said...

This brought me to tears. Thank you, and 100% YES to everything you said. What a beautifully and thoughtfully written post.

kreed said...

Lovely post. I never have understood the vehemence against homosexuality. I always kind of chuckle at the "marriage is a sacred religious union...blah, blah" argument - I mean, how many people run on down to the justice of the peace and tie the knot without any religion associated with the ceremony? And no one says those marriages aren't valid.

LuAnn said...

One of the highlights of this day will be going to your site and reading your post. You have no idea how proud I am to call you my friend.

shizzknits said...

Great post- you said it 100x better than I ever could!

Dee said...

Yes, just yes. I so wish I could convince some of the people very close to me to think this way.

My very best friend in the whole world is a lesbian and I am over the moon that she has finally found a woman that loves her and makes her happy. I don't know why anyone thinks they have the right to keep another human being from feeling love and being happy.

elizasmom said...

Yes, yes, one hundred times yes!

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QIR said...

Awesome. I love your blog always. But I especially love your blog on days like today.

Cara said...

We love because he first loved us. Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (NRSV, 1 John 4:19-21)

I suppose you can argue about how to define brother and sister, but given that Jesus broke bread with prostitutes and tax collectors I think his instructions to me are very clear. And that is why I march, rally and most especially vote.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Thank you, Cara, for pointing out the GOOD. Because there is no point in denying the Good that can be found in the Bible.

My frustration is with the Bible being used/manipulated for one's intent. I have seen folks hold the certain hateful attitudes, find religion, then use their religion to justify the hatred they had always held in their heart. I wanted to explain that, but did not want to muddle my post's main point.

meno said...

You made me tear up a little with this.

Really well said, Lady, really well.

Tracie Tsuneya said...

I think the gay rights issue is the black equlity issue equivalent for modern times.
I am pro-gay rights, and anti-racist, btw. ^o^

Brit said...

It is the Cagey's and the Cara's of the world that have my utmost admiration, because they always know just what to say. And it is forever eloquent.

I do not understand teaching Hatred in the name of God, any god. It is wrong, and cowardly. And I refuse to believe that the cowards will win.

Peace on Earth people.

It cannot be achieved through hatred.

jodifur said...

I could not agree with what you said more.

How can we hate people for who they love? It is not like heterosexuals are doing marriage so well. Have people looked at the divorce rate lately?

One of The Guys said...

People use scripture and whatever else to support their views. It's so easy to twist and distort pretty much anything.

I really like what you said about you not wanting your son to be gay. I was hoping you would give the reasons you gave. It's hard enough growing up and living in this world, but when you're different in whatever way, which includes race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, life can be even more difficult. As a father of three, I understand what you're saying. I'm not gay, but all parents want their children to be healthy and live a happy life.

Well written post.

Rita Arens said...

You know I so totally agree with you.

Me said...

This is a beautiful post- thank you for posting.

Prianka said...

Thank you.
I love when people speak up and I love your story about the motherhood epiphany.

keldie said...

Awesome!

As a lesbian who came out to a mother who said those exact sentiments, I do however recommend not SAYING that you're sad at that moment, even for those reasons. What I needed to hear was that my mom was proud of me and happy for me to be the person I am, not that I had made my mom sad and worried about me.