This will probably be a short blog post (famous last words) because a lot has been said on this subject and I have very little to add -- but I do have a little. And if anyone knows anyone that works for Equality California, please feel free to forward them this link.
Right off the bat, let me proclaim this for all to hear: I DO NOT SUPPORT GAY RIGHTS OR GAY MARRIAGE. That's right. You heard me. What I do support are civil rights and marriage equality for everyone.
I know. I know. Blah blah blah petty; blah blah blah semantics. I'm usually the first one to decry people taking offense to everyday language. My philosophy has always been, take it how it's meant (e.g, you can tell me Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Happy Kwanzaa -- I'll smile and say thank you to you all the way around).
But anymore it feels like groups, organizations, the media and who knows who else are all manipulating language and twisting words to suit their own agendas. Because of this, the proper language could be crucial to winning the hearts and minds of America.
What do blacks, gays, lesbians, the homeless and the Jews all have in common? Most of you will probably say (correctly) they have all been discriminated against. But they have something much more basic in common: they are all people, human beings. Black people, gay men, lesbian women, homeless people, Jewish people.
All those words -- black, gay, lesbian, homeless, Jewish -- are adjectives. Adjectives modify nouns. By turning adjectives into nouns, we've created an environment where anyone can dehumanize anyone else, just by readjusting some words and phrases. And once that happens, it's easy to forget what the real issue is and be blinded by the propaganda.
If you don't believe me, try asking ten people about "the homeless problem". I can almost guarantee you that two or more of the people you ask will respond in approximately this manner: "I know. It's terrible. They're so aggressive anymore. They come right up to you on the street. I hate to even go [insert name of neighborhood in your town where people who are homeless congregate]."
So now, the problem isn't about how our government can get people into homes and off the street; it's how can we get these animals out of our garbage cans and our faces.
What does this have to do with Equality California? Well, almost every day they have someone standing outside the supermarket I work at, asking people the same questions over and over. Do you support gay rights? Do you support gay marriage? And almost every day, I find myself wanting to rip the clipboard out of his/her hands and scream, "Stop it! Stop it right now!"
Please don't misconstrue my words and intent here. I love Equality California. I'm certainly glad they exist to further a worthy and righteous cause. I just keep getting tripped up by the vocabulary.
Maybe I'm in the minority here (certainly as a gay man I am), but I don't need anyone to give me the right to be gay. That ship sailed. I'm gay. And frankly, I don't need any marriage I might enter into to be any more or less gay than anyone else's. I mean, come on. We've all been to a "straight" wedding. Is there anything MORE gay than that?
All I really need is for voters, judges and legislators to stop taking away all the rights I already had before I opened my mouth and told you I had a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend.
Let's stop making this issue a referendum on gayness. That's how the terrorists win. It's about equality, plain and simple. So just say no to gay rights and gay marriage. Demand civil rights and marriage equality for everyone.