This is why I wasn't surprised when they created a fifteen person panel to discuss whether to add gay, lesbian and transgendered to the list of people who cannot be discriminated against. It made headlines and brought out the cowards and bigots in droves. Those bigots exist everywhere, as does this problem. Cities everywhere are faced with this problem. Springfield is currently right in the middle of it, but those who come after may find some help in our story.
The first argument was why the LGBT community should not be given special rights. Of course, the answer to that is the fact that these rights aren't special. They are the same protections already offered to people saying they cannot be discriminated against based on gender, age, race, religion and ethnic group. We're all protected already and trying to catch up and see the valid need to extend protection to a group that suffers for no reason.
The second argument was there's no need for it. Riiiight. Because we have a history of being fair to minorities without being legally forced. But okay, I have as good of an imagination as anyone out there, so say there is no reason to add it. Say there is no discrimination in the Bible Belt towards the LGBT community. That just means there's no harm in adding it, right? And if there is a problem then it makes sense to add it, right? So in either case there is no reason not to add it.
The third argument was that "they" would take our jobs and snatch up opportunities meant for straight holy folk. If you feel this way, sit down and get the fainting salts ready: THEY ALREADY ARE. Yup, gay folks have been eating at the same tables, teaching kids, and working alongside holy rollers this whole time. And if that doesn't make the church ladies clutch their pearls this last little tidbit surely will: they're doing a great job. They are already here, they are part of our communities, they are our neighbors and our friends. This legislation won't change that one little bit, nor should it.
"I don't like the idea of sleeping with someone of the same sex, so this is clearly an abomination." And without further ado, we arrive at the meat and potatoes of the problem. So now that we have cut through the layers of diversion let's address the real problem with how my beloved city views the LGBT community. I could go on for days (I have, as a matter of fact). But rather than turn this into a novel, I will simply add a bullet list to make my points. If I may speak to the homophobes and the judgmental in a short open letter, I think I can finally get this off my chest once and for all:
- Your approval is not required. Personally, I hate bad tippers. I'm no fan of athletes and I abhor gossips. I mean, I hate them so much it makes my toes curl and my right eye twitches with the homicidal need to grab a ball bat and get to work. But you know what? When I encounter one of these despots, I roll my eyes and move on because all of these are things that are outside of my control and none of my business. Nobody said I would adore every person I meet or that I would never be offended by another human being. The same applies to you. Get over yourself and move on.
- It's not just sex, you morons. Most people immediately go to the bedroom when they think of homosexuality. Why not? Sexuality is right there, dominating the name. But there's more to being heterosexual than bumping socially approved uglies, am I right? The same surely goes for the other side of the coin. I'd like to say any fool can surely see that, but I'm proven wrong every single day. These people have jobs, families, hobbies, talents, flaws, triumphs and heartaches. They are smart, dumb, kind, cruel, lazy and overbearing. They live and love and cry and laugh. Just like us. Because THEY ARE US. Those people you hate? The people you think don't deserve equality? They are just like you. Get over yourself and move on.
- Our government should not bow to beliefs. For something that changes from person to person, how could anyone expect this to work? It is not our government's duty to tell us right from wrong, that comes from within us. Believe what you like, and I mean that wholeheartedly. However, people's rights to choose is protected for a reason. "Life, liberty and and the pursuit of happiness" aren't just flowery words. They are a promise that we can make our own paths and walk them because history shows over and again that oppression doesn't work. No matter which deity and rich bastard combination you try, it fails every time. This time isn't any different. Again, you are not special. Get over yourself and move on.
- Our government's blessing should never have been necessary in the first place. It implies that rights for the LGBT community are up for negotiation, and this should never be. Those rights are the same that any law-abiding person should expect, and to allow people to weigh in on whether gays should be treated equally was never the right way to approach the problem. The right way to approach it is to see if the answer could be applied to another group in a similar scenario, so bias is removed. For example: if a large number of people weren't breaking any laws through a variable that leaves them open to exploitation and abuse, should we protect them from discrimination? It means making the right call without letting the particulars that aren't anyone's business interfere with the result.
It means getting over yourself, and moving on to things that matter. Hungry kids. Domestic violence. Poverty. Malnutrition and disease. Our area is drowning in people who need help making it through the day. Yet the people who claim to be our moral compass drive past all this to fight the war against a legal distinction that is none of their business.
I think it's time to end this post now. My right eye is twitching.