Great progress is being made towards marriage equality. There are currently 17 states allowing full marriage equality. The movements that have stood firm in making their message heard has played a great role, and I am so happy to see that all of their work is starting to show real results.
It is a shame that we live in a society where this is even considered a serious social issue. The idea that people want to do everything in their power to prevent other people from getting married completely baffles me. In some ways however, I need to be grateful that I am alive at a time when this social change is possible. The changing zeitgeist is definitely headed in the right direction but there is still much more to be done.
I am thankful that in my social circle I am only in contact with a few that don’t support marriage equality, while the great majority are in full support, and a couple are even on the front lines of this battle. Now I could be content with this, but something slowly came to my attention while pondering homophobia and similar issues that I think many on the side of equality need to consider, because there is still progress on our side that needs to be made.
As accepting as we have become of homosexuality, even among some of the most accepting, we still view the idea of being gay as a bad thing. Now many of us are right in one sense, being that we could face heavy amounts of discrimination among the less accepting. That is definitely something to fear, and it only further helps us understand the struggle of those who truly are homosexual. But this is not a good enough excuse. Even surrounded by the most progressive groups, many of us would still be embarrassed if someone proclaimed that we were gay. We may go person to person declaring our heterosexuality. What this displays, however, is a belief that being homosexual would devalue a person. This cannot be a tangible belief among the accepting if we want social change to continue to progress.
At the heart of what is wrong with this picture is that we treat the idea of being gay as an insult. If someone were to call us gay, many feel an instant need to defend ourselves against this claim. But why should we? True acceptance of all sexual orientations requires that we not hold any reservations against it. In an interview with The Big Bang Theory’s star Johnny Galecki on The View, he was asked about the rumors surrounding his sexual orientation. His response was to not respond, with the great reason of, “why defend yourself against something that’s not offensive?”
The LGBT community still faces a mountain of challenges as they fight for equality. We cannot hinder this progress by simple minded fears that we ourselves may hold. If we want true equality, then we really need to believe that we are equal. What this is about is love and being allowed to be yourself. There is nothing more pure, nothing more fundamentally necessary to us as a society than this. We need every fiber of our being to be in support. So if someone ever suggests that you are gay, but you are not, thank them, for they have given a greater compliment than criticism, even if they don’t realize it.