Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't accept me, just gimme my rights and leave me alone.

By far my favourite person in the world is my sister. I adore her and she is my sense of place in this world. Y'know that one person who always makes you feel like all can be right with the world again cause she's got your back?

Yesterday she told me as a lesbian I'm entitled to as many rights as pedophiles and zoophiles (sex with animals). She also said that gay people ought to go live in the woods instead of demanding rights from decent people, because being gay is not normal.

I expected my sister to have my back always; so this is a huge blow I can't even begin to think about how to recover from, or how to begin the dialogue that addresses all the irrational points on which she rests this judgment of me.

The weight of her statement, and my fear that we might not recover has pressed me into silence I can't seem to break, while she continues to talk to me as if life carries on as normal. I don't know when I will be able to articulate to her, but here I want to tell her that each of her arguments is flawed because:
The debate about homosexuality in America boils down to a matter of religion and therefore belongs in the church, not in matters of law and governance. I don't hold that the church has no power, and no say about the rights of homosexuals within its doors, but I have chosen to live in a country that is separate from the church therefore until I am inside their doors they have no damn business in my business.

The bulk of this debate is based on religion, so I need to address if from that standpoint as well. Even the bible as a basis for judgment is flawed; as far as I'm aware a sin is a sin is a sin. The bible teaches (I'm told) that no sin is greater than another, but my punishment for being gay is so much greater than for a host of comparable sins. Last time I checked adultery was a big fat sin but the government allows rights based on common law marriage status. I want that right.

I agree that homosexuality is not "normal" when judged by social standards of what is generally practised and accepted. Personally, as a gay woman I'm not asking to be considered normal, I'm telling everyone that I've got the right to practise my abnormal lifestyle same as other subcultures are allowed the right to practise theirs.

I don't see anyone telling these guys they've got no right to pursue these abnormal lifestyles; and what's more the government supports that right through regulation of the tattoo and piercing business. I want that right.

Being homosexual is very different from pedophilia and zoophilia in these very important details: free will and consent. To ask for sanction for pedophilia and zoophilia would be to sanction the violation of a being who does not consent. The choice my girlfriend and I have made to be in a relationship with each other deviates from societal norms yes, but it's a deviation we both consented to, and neither one of us is violating the other. See that BIG DIFFERENCE there? I'm not asking for the right to violate anyone. I just want to be able to buy a home with her, share our finances and have her carry our babies without worrying about my rights to be with and take care of our children in case something happens to her or between us.

I might take that one step further to talk about other consensual sexual deviations from the norm such as S&M, Swinging etc. Those sexual behaviours aren't "normal" but the general consensus is "that sure is weird but what they choose to do in their bedrooms is their business", and should they chose to marry and adopt and file taxes and have health insurance and immigration rights they sure can. I want those rights.

After some thought, I can see that this debate of homosexuality is a debate of religion and morality, and a question of where the lines are drawn between church and state. The separation of church and state was brought about so that the church would not be able to dictate the mechanics of government. However this is tempered by the fact that government is directed by the majority - which in the case of American society is directed by the school of christian/religious morality. Therefore, on paper there is a separation but in practise there is a failure because the church can still dictate from behind the sidelines. Perhaps this is a bigger debate about the need for a separation of the morality of America and the morality of the church; because as a democracy (y'know all people being equal before the law?) the adoption of christian morality does not service all of the people. However, I know that's a big conversation, so at the very least maybe we could start with an exploration of why gay rights do not fall under - but should -the category of pursuits supported by the separation of church and state.
Read more about separation of church and state here. It's a really good exploration of some of the points of separation.


Laura said...

I'm very sorry you're sister reacted that way.

I can tell you that not all people who consider themselves "Christian" feel that way. I spent 7 years in seminary studying theology and religion (although, I rarely discuss either topic), and I don't believe that sexual orientation or sexual activity is sinful if it is consensual. A lot of my friends are gay. I don't think they're sinners. I know a lot of people who feel the same way.

I'm not going to say that Christianity is wonderful and that it is the answer. It's not. Everyone has their own, unique path to take.

I may be half Xian and half Buddhist. Anyway. My point is, you're right. The American people have turned this into a religious issue when it should be a matter of civil liberty.

However, regarding your heading, (don't accept me, just give me my rights and leave me alone) I have to disagree. You have the right to be accepted. More than that, you deserve to be accepted.

Furtive Life said...

It's true about acceptance; but with every thing I have to fight for... it's the very least of my battles and so much more subjective. When we've got equality then I'll start to worry about it.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sad for you. What an awful thing to hear from a loved one :-(. You made some really great points here... and what's sad is that none of them matter to those who are against gay rights and have their minds completely made up. People can change, but it's slow, and it usually takes exposures and experiences and actions to open their minds to the very ideas that you discuss here.

I am totally with you though. It HURTS. I am originally from Maine and hope to move back there. The recent gay marriage vote really stole the air from my lungs.