"It's Not How We Believe"I don't know if I have ever been this swamped at work before. I shouldn't be writing here, but I need a break.
So, the title of this post is from an episode of "Sports Kids Moms and Dads," some reality show on A&E (I think). On the show, they follow several kids highly involved in sports. One of the kids is a male figure skater. When the producers asked the kid and the mom if he was gay, that's what the mom said--"that's not how we believe." Umm, what does that even mean?
So, it got me thinking. Save a few people, I think most anti-gay conservatives are against gays because they just don't understand being gay. They don't know what it is like. They see it as this "evil" thing lurking out there that one either believes or doesn't believe. If you believe being gay is ok, you become gay, if you don't you don't. But too many families that "don't believe that way" have found themselves smack dab in the middle of a quandry. Do they accept their gay child or ask them to take on a task that they would never dream of asking themselves to take on?
So many anti-gay folks I have heard or talked to never seem to have actually taken the time to sit down and talk to a gay person. Now, I know I'll get a lot of opposition on this from anti-gay folks who swear up and down that they have gay friends and all that good stuff, but I frankly just don't buy it.
When you say you don't agree with being gay, to me it is a blanket statement with no real thought behind it. People need to realize that when they tell me I should not be gay, what they are really asking me is to not have any romantic involvement at all in my life--ever. The problem, though, is that they think they are just asking me to be straight like everyone else, as if it were some kind of easy choice.
When my dad told me he wouldn't accept the fact that I was gay, I asked him if he could imagine living life without my step-mom. I asked him to imagine meeting her and getting to know her, falling in love with her, all of that good stuff, but then he'd have to stop right there and not act on any of his emotions or attractions. He couldn't hold her hand or kiss her. He couldn't lay in bed and cuddle. Nothing. Even worse, he wouldn't ever be able to act on any of his emotions or attractions. And I mean ever.
When you take being gay down to a very personal level like that, I think it is a lot harder to say, "well, I don't agree with it." The problem is, there is a double standard. The straight conservative that tells me I shouldn't be gay is really telling me I am not allowed to fall in love with anyone or to date anyone, etc. He's not asking that of himself, and he never would dream of doing so.
And, that's why I think lots of ex-gay organizations exist. Most people don't find it too appealing to tell someone that they have to live a life of solitude and complete non-romantic functioning of any kind. It's a lot easier to tell a person to just stop being gay. So, the ex-gay circles have an answer--for my dad and lots of others. They don't have to be single all of their lives (and by single I mean not even attempting to date anyone, not just the celibacy required of an abstaining straight couple. For ex-gays and desperate families, there is hope, be straight! And if their answer held water, it might be a good one. But, from what I have seen, it doesn't. If it did, surely one organization would at least try to prove it did.
For now, my dad and I have a deal (well not really, but we should). When he agrees to leave my step-mom and enter a world void of any and all romanticism, I'll do the same. I don't think it's going to happen.