The Supreme Court decided to live up to our founding principles, declaring that homosexuals can marry one another. It’s a great day. I can’t help but think we Americans have always been playing catch-up to our ideals. We talk a good game, but we are 250-odd years old and only just now letting all adults choose who they marry.
But I have little room to scold.
Up until my 20s, I considered gay people to be something … icky. Wrong. Unnatural. I mocked anyone I thought might be gay, and I used gay epithets to mock anyone I wanted to diminish. It wasn’t until relatively recently that I stopped using “gay” as a put down, even though it was just a bad habit. I didn’t care enough to change.
I was that guy. Moreover, a lot of my friends were that guy, as well as a lot of my enemies—my generation by and large was not gay friendly. We were all that guy.
And that is my shame. At some point, cognitive dissonance started to kick my moral compass around. What, exactly, did I not like about homosexuality?
I wasn’t a homosexual, so maybe it was because I found male attraction to men strange. But then again, I wasn’t a heterosexual female, either, and I was just fine with them.
I had an aversion to the idea of homosexual sex being forced on me, but for crying out loud, no sound person wants to have sex forced on them.
I didn’t want to see homosexual sex, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever have to, any more than I had to see hetero sex.
The parts don’t fit right. Well, what of that? Healthy sexuality allows for parts to be used in non-standard ways, as long as everyone is able to consent.
I never felt the compulsion to bring a god’s will into any of my other philosophical or social positions, so that was a non-starter.
In the end, it came down to two things: I just couldn’t imagine being attracted to a man, and my society encouraged antipathy towards gay individuals. Both of these are inadequate reasons to belittle gay people. In fact, they are childish, selfish, thoughtless and vain.
Facebook allowed me to learn how the lives of some of the people I knew back then turned out. Several—far more than I would have thought—turned out to be gay. We interact on Facebook very amicably. They don’t seem to hold any grudges against who I used to be. But if I am honest, it is very hard for me not to hold those grudges against myself.
So I am writing this for those who still may be as I was. And for those who may have felt lessened, humiliated or threatened by my shabby, brutal words and attitudes.
To those who are like the old me: Stop. Today. You are not on the ethically sound side of the issue. Don’t be petty and self centered as I was. You will come to regret it, as I have. But the sooner you own it and leave it behind, the sooner you get to claim adulthood in the best sense of the word. It feels so much better here.
Even if your god and scripture lead you to believe homosexuality is against your faith, being kind and allowing people to live as they deeply wish shows compassion and respect, which I would have to believe will gain your god’s favor and will shine the light of your faith more brightly.
To those who have been on the other side of that old me: I offer my apology and a promise of decency and respect. You should never have had to fight to be in love.
May today’s decision by our Supreme Court bring you joy and a sense of belonging.