I am both a law student and a comedian, a woman and a daughter, a lesbian, and an American citizen (not to mention a handful on the dance floor). Many Americans have struggled with the concept of gay marriage, and it may surprise you to know that I am one of them. That may enrage you, but before you freak out and close this window, hear me out.
I’m not against gay marriage… actually I’m for it, but I am infuriated by members of my community who spew hate at our religious and often conservative opponents. Faith is a highly personal and extremely individual thing… and making out with my girlfriend in someone’s face at a chicken joint is only going to make those opponents hate me more. And btw? That chicken joint is the only way I get my girlfriend to go to the mall with me. If I promise her free waffles fries, I am pretty much guaranteed 45 minutes of shoe shopping. And when I walk up to order a spicy chick’n or two, that poor employee gets nervous. She glances from side to side out of fear that we are going to scissor right on the counter and use the mayo as lube. Mmmm…. mayo. I digress. All we want is some chicken, so relax.
These emotionally tolling stories of partners being denied access to one another in hospitals, while true, are attempting to pull on the heartstrings of the heartless. Yea, those who are against gay marriage in the first place don’t give a SHIT about whether I can see my girlfriend if we got in a car wreck in Kentucky and she was in a coma. They don’t care. (She is going to love this fake scenario by the way). They don’t care that we do not have the same property rights, marriage rights, adoption rights, or human rights as they do. That’s why they are fighting the word “marriage”. We have to approach this, especially to people whose thoughts on this topic are deeply rooted in faith, with rationale, not Facebook statuses using your sexuality as an excuse for your immature behavior.
This is not about who have access to a wedding cupcake groupon. This is about equality. Equal rights under the 14th amendment (or 5th). You don’t know what I’m talking about? Google Loving v. Virginia and make sure you have a strong stomach, because the facts of that case will make you literally sick. Yes, these issues are rooted in prejudice and yes, emotions are high when these topics are discussed… but on this point, rationality prevails.
Where I come from, lesbians were drop-outs riddled with substance abuse issues who couldn’t find a job. Why? Because we aren’t treated as equals by parents or teachers or priests at a crucial point in our development, we feel ostracized, and often escape to the fringes of society… for solace or protection. How do you recover from this? Even now, I joke around with friends that I am a “job-digger” instead of a “gold-digger” because it is so hard to find an employed lesbian in my age range that is turned on, like I am, by a good 401k package. The number of women I know whose parents stopped helping financially with college because their daughter told them she likes girls is staggering. Try getting an advanced degree or moving up in your career field without an undergrad degree, and I guarantee doors that SHOULD be open for you because of your talent and motivation will be slammed in your face without that stupid piece of paper.
So why… why did I define myself as bisexual or pansexual for years, when I was gay? Why are so many stigmatized by the process of coming out?
I don’t think there is an easy answer for this. Yes, I was pushed back in the closet by the fear of losing family, faith, and friends. I am brutally reminded by this whenever I go home: the most recent gem is my extended family’s boycott of Pepsi products because Pepsi Co. is “pro-abortion”. I just picture Pepsi employees hosting rallies forcing abortion on people… because that’s clearly what is happening. For me, a huge factor in staying in the closet through numerous attempts to come out was the lack of mentors, the lack of strong gay role models. So this equality issue is cyclic, and echoes Harvey Milk’s plea, “You must come out!” You must. And you must come out in support of gay marriage, not because of love and feelings and jellybeans and stickers. But because of the law. Because of the Constitution. Because we have a constitutional right… to love. (See… it is kind of about love.) And because young gay people need role models. REAL role models. They need to see gay marriages, not just a picture of a wedding day, but couples with 20, 30, 40+ years of marriage, which is not all glamorous and covered in glitter. Spend less time bitching on Twitter about how our community is discriminated against, and fight the stereotype with the action of living a productive life. Also, while you are at it, have a Pepsi.
[ Sick of hearing my opinion, and want to hear a super sexy pro-athlete talk about why gay marriage is awesome? Minnesota Vikings’ Chris Kluwe will speak at The Ohio State University on Monday, April 8, at 5:00pm in the Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom at the Ohio Union. I’m moderating the discussion. Need more motivation? I’ll be in a really awesome pants suit. Rawr. ]