Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pride and/or Prejudice: Gay Rights in America

3 days after a thoroughly invigorating time at Indy Pride this past Saturday, it still remains a ludicrous notion to me that the legislature of Indiana does not recognize gay marriage.

The so-called "biggest threat to American society" showed little sign of its menacing and dastardly ways as the gay community - as well as many straights - turned out in their thousands to stand in favo(u)r of equality.

As usual, the event was held in the highest of spirits, with people from all across the sextrum (can I trademark this term?) having a fantastic time.

In fact, such enjoyment served as an obvious rebuke to those that would insist, as I have often heard, that gay pride just "makes the gays look foolish." On the contrary, if anyone looks foolish it is exactly those people who offered up such a narrow-minded view in the first place; the same people who would think nothing of the hammed up farmers who race pigs at the state fair, but believe vehemently that boys in make-up are "making a spectacle of themselves."

40 years behind the rest of the western world 

Having grown up for most of my life in the UK, there are many aspects of life in America - and particularly the Midwest - that are truly alien to me. I am still, shall we say, a little miffed as to why there was such massive opposition to "Obamacare" and as to why it is okay for people to use the word "retard", while the word "goddamn" is utterly frowned upon in certain circles. The idea, also, that schools are being closed, rather than receiving additional funding, for under-performing on tests is an interesting one. But more on all of these things at a later time.

As someone with a relatively lengthy background in theatre, I count numerous openly gay people among my friends. A fair portion of these live right here in Indiana (though some, who are gayer than Liberace's frilly underwear, have somehow been married with kids for the past 10 years. Isn't it wonderful what those Christian boot camps can do to cure homosexuality?).

As I made my way around the stalls at Indy Pride, I encountered one gentleman who was considering moving to Massachusetts - one of only 5 states to recognize same-sex marriages - so that he could marry his long-term boyfriend. He told me:
"The problem with America is it is 40 years behind the rest of the western world. It's all fine and dandy having these parades, but if we don't wear the t-shirt everyday, then how will we ever get anywhere?"
Indeed, it is rare to see people - straight, gay, lesbian or transgender - adorning themselves with those same slogan-filled t-shirts on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps, there exists, with certain justification, a fear of persecution or judgement.

That said, one does get the sense that another civil rights movement might be just around the corner. If this is true, then those who seek equality for all must not be hesitant, for those who seek the opposite will one day be held to the same lowly standards we now hold racial bigots.

And so, from now until Indy Pride 2012 and beyond, let us never be afraid to express ourselves, whatever side of the sextrum we may be on, and let's allow pride to win out over prejudice.

2 comments:

Paul said...

I don't know if I could handle living in the Mid-West. I am in an oasis of liberalism in a redneck sea down here in Gainesville, Florida.

Sometimes, America generally though does make you wonder if you have been thrown back to the 1950s. There is an awareness of racism nowadays in the US, but bigotry against gay people seems deep-rooted and shameless.

Paul
http://fromsheeptoalligators.blogspot.com

Laurence Brown said...

@ Paul. Yes, it would seem to bring into question the whole "land of the free, home of the brave" slogan. And I'm talking just as much about the second clause in that sentence as the first.

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