Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Don't Love All Gay People

Act #15: Speak up

I don't love gay people.  Allow me to clarify.  One of my best life-long friends, my platonic soul mate, is gay and I love him.   Many individuals that I admire and respect for their talents, characters, friendship are also gay, and I love having them in my life.  But for me to make that sweeping generalization that I love all gay people is just as, or even more offensive than me proclaiming that I hate someone because of their sexual orientation. You see I love my best friend, not because he is gay, but because of the kind of person he is.  Because of his drive to better himself and the world around him, because he can make me laugh even when we are waiting in the hospital ICU for my dad to get through surgery, because of the way that he offers me advice and criticism without making me feel like shriveling up in self-defensiveness, because he once used his entire savings to put a new roof on his mother's crumbling little home in southeastern Kentucky.  I love him for type of person he is and for the value he has added to my life over the past 20 years.

Which brings me to my point.  While my higher aspirations are to live in a world where I do, I also don't love all Asians, all Blacks, all Whites, all Hispanics, all the elderly, all Jews, all Christians, all Muslims, all that are disabled, and all women.  While I do indeed have people who are near and dear to me who fit nicely into one or several of these categories, I could never proclaim my love for entire cross-sections of the human population.  Heck, how could I when I don't even know them?  What I DO know however, is that while I may have disagreed with a former white boss, been annoyed with a gay server recently, felt intimidated by a black doctor a few years ago, I still value these individuals as human beings who deserve the same rights that I have.  The right to work, live, and eat in a restaurant without being made to feel like they have the plague.  I don't love all gay people.  But I value them as human beings who should be able to get a job that they are qualified for, live in an apartment that is safe, go on a date with a partner without being kicked out of a restaurant. 

Yesterday the tiny town of Vicco, KY (population 334) became the smallest town in the country to pass a fairness ordinance.  It joins Lexington, Louisville, and Covington as one of 4 cities where it is illegal to discriminate against someone in housing, employment, and public accommodations because of their sexual orientation.  Please allow that to sink in:  if you live anywhere else in the state, you can legally fire someone just because they are gay (or even "look" gay), you can kick someone out of their rental home (or refuse to rent to them in the first place) if they are gay, and you can refuse to serve someone at a restaurant simply because they are gay.

My friends, this is not a complex deeply moral and religious debate about biblical definitions of marriage, freedom of religion, personal beliefs.  This is as simple and cut and dry as this.   You don't have to love all gay people.  You don't have to even love one or know one, but I would challenge you to ask yourself this question:  Can you go on about your life and continue to live in a community (or more importantly, live with yourself) knowing that your neighbor, your server, your co-worker, the guy you go to church with, is currently, right this moment, being denied the same basic rights that you have had all (or most) of your life?

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