Friday, April 10, 2009

Not Knowing

One of the things I worry about most is the number of people, both gay and straight, who tell me that things are getting better when I express my frustration with the growing openly homophobic society we live in. No longer content merely to harass us in useless (and mandatory, thereby making the harassment inescapable) PE classes in high school, now organizations are releasing television ads that openly show the aggressive nature of the stance.

Commercials like this one, currently igniting the blogosphere into a frenzy on both sides of the issue:

That's a real television ad, folks. This is where the 8 years under a regime that told conservative thinkers it was okay not to try to understand, not to try to create spaces for dialogue has left us.

But I understand that those who have decided (in error, because the argument is flimsy both from the Bible-literalist perspective and from the legal perspective which doesn't seem to recognize that there is secular, government sanctioned marriage and then there is church approved marriage, and that these things are not the same thing) not to even consider how others feel or think are not going to listen. What I most worry about are those in the middle of the argument who might go towards homophobic thinking because it "sounds safe." After all, "coming together through love" sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Until you think it through, and realize that they are coming together for hate. That is their "love": to openly show their discrimination against an entire group of people in defiance of Constitutional rights.

Remember that the rhetorics that circulate, like those that show up in this commercial, reinforce ideologies of hate, of base level fear and ignorance as positions of strength. And, indeed, they can seem that way.

However, imagine something for a moment: imagine what that mother in the commercial would do the day her son tells her he's gay. Will she react with love, or with hatred? Will that same son she says she so desperately wants to protect become one of the hundreds of thousands of homeless who are gay youth?

Think for a minute about the African American man showing support for a movement that tells an entire group of people "you should be happy with what you have and stop pressing for more."

I could go on, but I think you see my point.

The commercial tells us that the press for the same rights we as Americans are gauranteed under Constitutional decree are somehow pressing on others' rights to not-know things. Is that the kind of country you want? One that bases its strength positions on not knowing?


M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M said...

I need some one to answer this question for me:

How is same-sex marriage changing the rights of heterosexual couples? I hear this argument all the time, but I have, literally, no idea what it means. How does allowing two people who love each other to marry change my marriage (presumably, between two people who love each other). I don't get it. Seriously.

J. Campbell said...

I don't get it, either.

Mira Chan said...

i so don't get it either. how is same-sex marriage coming into their lives and taking away their freedom? are people being forced to marry the same sex in some places i don't know about??

J. Campbell said...

I'm with you. The gist is...change is scary, and how this particular group is dealing with fear of change is to pick one group and tap into the rhetorics that tell them it's okay to hate that group. Many people are doing the same. My response has always been "if you don't like gay marriage, then don't get married to a gay person" but that doesn't seem to be what those who are fearing want to hear.