I'm about to be more sincere than I like to be with total strangers...
Tonight before I wrote this blog I watched Disney's Pocahontas. If you follow me on Twitter you know that me watching such a thing isn't terribly unusual - often I live-tweet, and unabashedly admit that I'm singing/dancing along.
Pocahontas is special though; it falls in that family of films - there are a handful - that never fail to make me think: "If I were to go back in time and show this to people of (the approrpiate time period) then they could see their foolishness and maybe change hearts and minds. They would be profoundly altered for the better!"
This may be a naive thought, but I believe it with my whole heart.
As I was watching Pocahontas I was regularly checking Twitter, and the wonderful agent Eric Ruben Re-Tweeted NBC's @BreakingNews:
"Poll: majority of Americans support same-sex marriage with 53 poll respondents favoring it..."
The link to the article was attached.
I retweeted of course; it's a small, but wonderful accomplishment to celebrate.
The tweet however wasn't what caught my eye.
It was the first - and at the time of this blog Only - response to the tweet by a woman who (in this blog) will remain anonymous:
"@BreakingNews @NBCnews majority of americans were not polled. I don't support gay marriage and was not polled"
This really and truly hurt my feelings. That may sound childish, or it may not carry the vehement disgust that some of you may believe it merits. In truth, the words of this stranger did not make me angry. I was not outraged, or taken aback; I was simply hurt.
One hundred years ago I would have been looked down upon (and in some parts of the world for some people that viewpoint hasn't changed). Certain human rights would have been denied me because of how I was born.
I feel so fortunate to be born as a child of the 80's who didn't have to suffer the animosity and struggle during the Civil Rights movement of the 60's.
But here I am, free. I attended school with all white children (almost without incident), I made exceptional grades, obtained a scholarship to a University I loved, and I now am a working adult who makes enough money to pay his bills and buy enough books on the side to keep me entertained and inspired.
But I can't marry the man I sleep next to every night. The Law (in my state) says I can't marry him.
I haven't followed the story of the man who was pulled from his partner's hospital bedside. I've seen the headline on twitter. Such stories make me sick to my stomach, angry at humanity, and at the end of it all I feel almost as powerless as I do right now.
It makes me angry because it makes me afraid. What if L (my partner, my love, my -in spirit- husband) got in a car wreck on his way home from work? He has no family to speak of - what happens then? Who will watch over him and care for him if not me?
That woman (who responded to the tweet), and people like her do not care who will visit my Love in the hospital in an emergent situation. They do not care that I will be taking care of that hospital bill. They do not care that when I crawl into bed every night that I sleep next to someone whose love has transformed me into a greater human being. They don't care that after two and a half years of kissing him I still get butterflies, how much of a cuddle-bug he is, or how my world becomes complete when he laughs.
I am being denied the right of marriage because of how I was born.
I will not get into this debate with anyone. Simply accept from before the time I could vocalize my feelings I was attracted to men. It is not a choice.
Pocahontas, Aida, The Help, Schindler's List...I could go on with the myriad of films and plays that demonize predjudice, preach against racism, and demonstrate the consequences of such thinking.
It is time for homosexuals to have their own "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; their own "Pocahontas"...
The challenge is a phenomenal one. The malice behind homophobia is far more insidious than any other in recent history. It has settled into the hearts of men and women; it has made it personal for each and every man and woman regardless of sexuality.
From what I have seen homophobia is fostered by the lie that if you agree that "gay is okay" then somewhere inside you must not only approve but also long to participate in that activity.
Homosexuals and their advocates have looked within themselves, and accepted whatever truth that rests there. They have found a certain kind of peace regarding themselves that defies description. The introspection and the (even momentary) uncertainty that allows for such a truth to be discerned is what terrifies a homophobic mind in my opinion.
What story can break that hold? What story can be told that makes them "see the light"? I don't believe it is simply a Love Story that we can tell - it must be more than that - a Love Story yes, but one for the ages.
Homosexuality among women generally isn't frowned upon - so long as it is strictly sexual. Men have enjoyed fantasies, films, and magazines depicting two women physically enjoying one another since time immemorial.
It is the Love that terrifies them, not the sex. So our story must then go beyond Love; or perhaps guide others toward a greater understanding of it.
The enemy is always the same. It has never changed; it simply wears a different suit of armor, and wields a different weapon.
Our enemy is Ignorance and his child, Fear.
I could go on, but I feel as if I've said too much.
I wrote this calling out to You. You - the one who read this and thought of that perfect story. The one that will write "Uncle Bruce's Fire Island Cabin" (I jest, but you know what I mean). We need something definitive. We need true Art crafted to break barriers, open minds, and change hearts.
I hope you're reading this.
I don't want my best friend's great-grandchildren watching a film 100 years from now and think "If I could have just gone back to 2013 and shown this to them then there wouldn't be any need for all of that arguing!"
To the rest of you with me here in the trenches remember that this battle needs to be fought with Love, Kindness, and Respect.
Never forget our enemy is willful Ignorance. We must be patient and persistent with delivering Knowledge. That is the only way we will dispel the fear.
Love is the only permanent solution to hate.
Until we meet again...