Friday, January 28, 2005

Get Out of My Life

I’m gay. I didn’t choose it, I didn’t get it from having a psychological trauma as a child, nor did I get it from the way my parents raised me, because if that caused it, my two married brothers and my sister, a mother of two, have some catching up to do. I believe it’s genetic; it comes from the same source of programming that made me right-handed and six feet tall with brown eyes. I believe that every other gay person on the planet is that way for the same reason I am; I have met far too many gay people from far too many varied backgrounds and cultures to blame it on reading Superman comics at the barber shop. It’s not something that is chosen, it’s not a lifestyle, and it’s not something you can change without causing great damage to the heart and the soul. And I’m really getting tired of having to write basically the same post over and over again telling people that.

But it seems I have to. Once again the pompous, arrogant, sanctimonious, homophobic, and ignorant tightasses are at it again. Dr. James Dobson, Lou Sheldon, Donald Wildmon, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson I can put up with; they’re big mouths with a dimbulb following, but they’re not collecting their salary from the taxpayer (unless you consider the fact they probably have their income sheltered within an inch of the IRS code). But now we have a new Secretary of Education, one Margaret Spellings (now there’s a name for an education secretary right out of Dickens) who objects to the PBS children’s series Postcards from Buster peripherally showing two lesbian couples who live in Vermont as a part of an episode about sugaring. The Department of Education, which helps fund PBS, says it wants a refund on whatever money the producers got from them to make the episode. According to the New York Times, “Ms. Spellings said many parents would not want children exposed to a lesbian life style.”

Well, Ms. Spellings, guess what. The first goal of education is to teach children that not everyone in the world is exactly like them or some Donna Reed / Ozzie and Harriet vision of what you think life is like, and the sooner children learn to accept that fact, the better off they will be. If they see Buster the Bunny visiting a lesbian couple’s house on television, they may feel comfortable when they visit the home of one of their classmates who has two mommies – or two dads. By the way, Buster doesn’t come from a perfect home: his own parents are divorced. I don’t see Secretary Spelling getting all frothed up about that. So why is it okay to show a child (albeit it a fictional one and a ruminant at that) who comes from a broken home, but not children living in a happy family with two parents who love each other and who live in a state where their union is sanctioned by state law?

What bothers me the most about this is not the state-sponsored gay-bashing. I’m used to it, and I’ve come to expect it, even if it comes from the political party that says it is the champion of individual rights and limited government. But if they really believe in that so much, why the hell can’t they stay out of my life? Why do they feel that they have the right to tell people that the lives of gay people are somehow unworthy of being shown on TV? Do they dare make the same judgement about showing the lives of black families, or Muslims, or interracial couples? Of course not – they’ve done that on Postcards from Buster without a peep from the Department of Education. But queers? Oh my God! Lock up the children!

These people are making judgements about my life and millions of others without knowing us. They assume that ten percent of the population – which is the commonly accepted percentage of gays and lesbians in the world – is unworthy of being portrayed as normal people. In plain English, the term for that is bigotry. My plain English reply to them is that they have no right whatsoever to pass judgement on me or anyone else, and the sooner they get out of my life – and the lives of any other group of people they don’t like – the better off this world will be.

I know this isn’t the last post I’m going to have to write about this. More’s the pity, but I’m going to keep doing it until I don’t have to. Consider it blogger security.