I Want YOU!

Okay, I’ve calmed down from my Prop 8 tantrum. I had a great epiphany as a result of going through it and it was that gay people need straight people.

Of course we always have, but what I mean by “gay people need straight people” is that John and I will never have marriage rights without the stand-up support of our straight friends and family members. Here’s why:

Mother Nature only makes between 2% and 10% of the population gay. And despite what the religious right nutjobs will tell you, it is not possible to recruit people to be gay. Unlike ethnic groups who can grow their numbers by going forth and multiplying, gay people will always be a statistical minority.

The only way we will win equality is if more gay people come out and fight AND if our friends and families stand with us. What does that mean?

Be vocal. If you’re at a party and someone starts talking about how “wrong” gay marriage is, remember they are talking about us. You don’t have to knock ‘em out or anything. In fact, being loving is recommended, but you could say something like:

“My (friend, brother, cousin, son) is gay. He and his partner have chosen to commit their lives to each other and as tax paying citizens they have a relationship that deserves the same rights and protections as any other married relationship.”

Or if you don’t want to get into all that, just say, “I disagree with you.” Many otherwise good people simply spout off what they’ve heard all of their lives, UNTIL they hear someone they respect disagree with them. All of a sudden that person has permission or a challenge to think differently.

Be educated. I can help with that. I read a lot of gay political news. A LOT! I post only a fraction of it here. I realize only about half of my readers are gay, so if I bother to post something gay related, it’s because it is a pretty high profile item. Never be afraid to e-mail me with questions. Maybe you aren’t even sure what you think about John and I getting married. If you have specific questions, don’t worry about offending us. I was raised a conservative Southern Baptist boy. There probably aren’t many morality related questions on this topic that I haven’t considered.

Be brave. This goes for my gay friends, too. Don’t be afraid to have the courage of your convictions. Gay people either learn to be brave or to hide. Ethnic minorities are more likely to face prejudice in the midst of families and friends like them who can say, “don’t listen to those racist jackasses, this is who you really are.” Many gay kids, on the other hand, grow up in families who not only don’t understand them but who reject them outright. Family members and friends may see them as other, less than, immoral, dirty, wrong. That’s a hard mountain for a gay kid to get on top of. Don’t be part of the problem. Learning to be brave is a challenge, but hiding is death.

So just so you know, John and I need you. Please help.

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9 Comments on “I Want YOU!”

  1. Marianne Says:

    You inspire me. Rock on.

  2. revizzy Says:

    This is inspiring! I struggle with this since I’m in Seminary. One thing that I have found that helps get people to think about things, is saying this “Even if you think being homosexual is wrong, why is it right for a government to say what people can and cannot do in their lives?” I often use the same point in regards to abortion. I’m not particularly for it except in extremes, but I don’t want the government telling me what I can and cannot do with my body. Just as the government shouldn’t tell two people in a loving committed relationship that they can’t share the same basic rights other couples receive.

    This point at least gets them thinking from a different point of view… even though sometimes I do want to deck some of them….

  3. lmb Says:

    You should’ve been at my family’s house at Thanksgiving a few years ago. I (somehow) stayed quiet while my aunt’s husband went on and on about how great Bush was. But I totally lost it when my aunt then tried to tell me that homosexuality and pedophilia are the same thing. This was at the height of the Catholic church’s molestation scandal, and she told me that putting a gay man in the priesthood was like putting a sober alcoholic behind a bar and telling him not to drink.

    Oh yes, she got an earful from me. (I do think, though, that she was simply ignorant, and not hateful—it’s possible that she doesn’t even actually know any gays or lesbians). But now I’m tempted to wear my new “STRAIGHT NOT NARROW” t-shirt at the next family gathering.

    Honestly, I don’t even know why we’re calling this “gay marriage,” and not just “marriage.” If we now, as a society, understand marriage to be “between a man and a woman,” then we once understood it to be between a white man and a white woman, or a black man and a black woman. It’s a civil rights issue, period. Equality is a right, not a privilege.

    And now, off my soapbox. But you have a lot of straight support out there, and someday it’ll happen…

  4. Sun Starer Says:

    First, sometimes a tantrum is in order.

    Second, I always love your honest perspective: “Gay people either learn to be brave or to hide.” I’d never really thought about it like that. It’s so true, and so completely wrong. I know on some level we all have to be brave about who we are. But, with relatively few exceptions, the majority of us don’t have to be brave about our choice of mate. Anyway, it was just a lightbulb moment for me when I read that.

  5. Rosie Says:

    Troy,
    Great post!
    As I’ve said to you in private before, I feel like boycotting marriage myself until you and John and other gay couples are allowed to get married. My thought is if more straight people boycotted marriage and if the wedding industry began to suffer because of it, they might start lobbying state legislatures and NOTHING in this country speaks louder than the almighty dollar. See the election of Obama in which suddenly everyone forgot about his race and his stance on the war and chose him in large measure because they thought he would be better at solving our financial crisis.
    Rosie

  6. Troy Says:

    Appreciate the support from you all. It helps that our allies are typically well informed and thoughtful.

    Rosie, I’ve never really thought about the economic impact of boycotting the marriage industry in states that don’t allow gay marriage. As a symbolic gesture I don’t know if it makes much of a difference, but it would be interesting to know what would happen if the money started drying up and all gay people involved in the wedding industry (myself included) just decided they wouldn’t be any longer. I can tell you this, I’ve already heard about some gay folk in the biz who are subtly sabotaging weddings where they know the couple is against marriage for all–”We shall overcome” is being snuck in as pre-service music, bees are part of bridal bouquets, and let’s just say you might want to eat before you go to the reception. Something to think about.

  7. Susan Says:

    Great post! I hope its okay but I forwarded this post on to our gay relative who has been with the same partner for over 15 years now and they are just now more comfortable with family gatherings. As a matter of fact this past summer at my grandparents 50th anniversary is the first time I have ever seen them together at any family function. I teared up a little to see them together. Some would think that’s perfectly ridiculous, but to us it was special. We want them to feel welcomed.

  8. lmb Says:

    So how do I reply to people like my mom, who insist that gay marriage is a moral issue, not a civil rights issue? She claims that her position on gay marriage is not a judgment on the gay community. She thinks that gay marriage affects *every*body, because if gay marriage is normalized (God forbid!), then it will have be taught in schools as ‘normal, acceptable behavior.’ It feels silly even just typing this out, but she seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid :(

  9. Dennis Says:

    Rest assured you are correct. You need me. I want to create demonstrations that you are only allowed to attend if you attend as two people, one straight and one gay. Now I think it should be 3 or 4 straight people could attend with one GLBT person. So, when I stood downtown to support the GLBT community there would have been 20,000 people instead of 5,000. Until real sacrifice by the straight community nothing will change.

    Peace,

    Dennis


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