Bramble On: Closer to equality
I never thought homosexuality was morally wrong, but for maybe my first 20 years I knew it as something I didn’t want to be associated with. Much like being dumb, or weak, I grew up believing homosexuality was a flaw. I am guilty of using homosexual slurs a few times in my younger years to offend people, not thinking about their meaning.
The truth is I was absolutely ignorant about what it means to be gay. In a lot of ways I still am. For much of my life I had never really thought about it.
It wasn’t until I critically thought about the topic that my mind began to change. I didn’t have an opinion before that, I simply projected an opinion I believed to be right without reason to do so. That opinion came from the outdated general beliefs of the time and culture I grew up in. Similar to how for thousands of years people accepted that the earth was flat, or that the sun revolved around the earth without questioning those beliefs, I accepted the views that were generally accepted in my upbringing as my own. Today, though not as quickly as I would like, I’m happy to see those opinions are changing.
For me, the first step toward correcting those beliefs was realizing and acknowledging that the way someone else lives their life has absolutely no effect on mine, and by consequence, that I have no right to tell that person how to live their life.
The second was learning to accept people as individuals and judge them for how they treat other people, how they treat themselves, the intentions behind their actions and, generally, how they traverse their lives. Basically, judge them for who they are as individuals.
The third was probably falling in love, and understanding that gay people feel the same way about their significant other than I did the first time I felt a deep connection with a woman. Seeing people find that makes me happy, regardless of whether they’re gay or straight.
People may agree or disagree with gay marriage, but to me, it all becomes much simpler when the issue is broken down to its simplest form. The question I think about most is, do I have the right to interfere with someone else’s life? If you agree you don’t, then whether you agree or disagree with same-sex couples marrying becomes irrelevant. You don’t have to agree, it’s their life.
In contrast to the beliefs I held too long ago for me to be able to rationalize them, but too recently for comfort, the Supreme Court’s decision late last month felt like a victory. It almost felt like redemption, though redemption it can’t be because gay Americans simply gained a right that was already theirs to begin with, but was stolen at the point they decided to be honest with themselves.
It wasn’t redemption, the same way kidnapping a child and giving it back at 18 is not redemption. But it made me happy to see that people I care about are getting closer to equality.
I will always feel somewhat guilty for the way I used to think. I have never apologized for it, because I never knew who to apologize to, but I guess this is the right time to do it. I’m sorry.
And I’m sorry for how long it’s taking for same-sex couples to be treated equally. But we’re getting there. All of us.
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