In honor of June being LGBTQ+ Pride Month, I have a pop quiz on this week’s blog. Which of the following two personalities is gay – Male #1 or Male #2?
- Enjoys listening to jazz and drinking pinot noir while he cooks.
- Thinks BBQ and whiskey is a better time
- Has concert tickets next month to Hugh Jackman’s Broadway Review
- First concert ever attended was Aerosmith with SkidRow
- Adores shopping for women’s vintage clothing
- Loves watching his wife in (or out of) vintage clothing
- Has watched Under the Tuscan Sun & Gone with the Wind each more than a dozen times
- Favorite movie is the blood and gore-filled: Braveheart
- Loves to dance like nobody’s watching
- Steals looks at pretty girls when his wife’s not watching
- Has clothes in his closet organized by color
- Wears socks even after they have holes in them
- Thinks Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful and heart-wrenching love story
- Will never, ever, watch Magic Mike
- Can’t take his eyes off the screen when Daniel Craig struts out of the sea in Casino Royale
- Can’t take his eyes off the screen when Ursula Andress struts herself out of the sea in Dr. No
- Antiquing on a Sunday is his happy-place
- If the Philadelphia Eagles football team is playing on Sunday, he’s in front of a T.V.
- Owns the albums ABBA Gold & the soundtrack to The Sound of Music
- Owns the albums KISS: Alive & Pink Floyd: The Wall
- Thinks manscaping is a pain in the ass (or other places)
- Loves traveling to Key West and San Francisco
- Loves traveling to historic military forts and battlefields
If you guessed male #1 is gay, you’re wrong. If you guesses #2, you’re still wrong. Turns out the question was a trick-question. All the above characteristics are attributable to moi. And, as far as I’ve been able to discern the impulses of my first forty-five years of life, I’m quite straight (cue humorous comments from my closest friends). The reason I created this little example is to address two thoughts.
The first thought is directed toward straight men, and it is: don’t judge a book by its cover. If you automatically disregard some thing or activity as traditionally feminine, you might never come to know something that could bring you joy. Finding joy, for so many, can be tough as it is without the wholesale disregard for anything you’re afraid might get you ostracized by your buddies. I think most men understand the principle I’m speaking of and most readily encounter it in the expression: guilty pleasure. They like something, but don’t want anyone to know they like it. Often I hear people ask men (women to a much lesser extent) about a guilty pleasure they might have? In the spirit of a game, men will offer up an example, usually a song or a television show, but they leave it off at that…as if they only have one. Maybe they do only have one guilty pleasure…how sad…, but I think most have many, but feel the need to hide it behind walls of machismo. Whether they do this for the benefit of their personae in the face of other men, or instead, for women, the underlying flaw, I suspect, is fear. Fear that people won’t accept you for who you really are. It’s cool to be straight, but don’t be narrow.
This brings me to my second thought. Pride should be the result of overcoming the fear of ostracization, and the individuals who make up the LGTBQ+ community have earned theirs. The fearlessness they have shown in the last half-century has initiated a wholesale transformation in the American acceptance of individuality.
We should all be proud to live in a country that holds individual rights at it’s foundation. Have our attitudes and laws always been so receptive to individual liberty? Of course not, especially to the LGTBQ+ community. I shudder to think of all the homosexuals who suffered in the small communities across our nation before free-market induced technological advancement in travel and communication were better able to connect each of them to one another. Gay pride often tends to express itself in flamboyancy, as the celebration of joy often does, but I would like to see the community also do something more solemn to recognize these unsung sufferers of eras gone by.
Just like I have a lot of ‘feminine’ qualities, some gay men have masculine qualities. There have been many athletes in recent years who have bravely ‘come out’ who were thought of as tough guys. Likewise, a lesbian doesn’t have to be butch. I’m sure some like wearing sundresses. Maybe the person you are on the inside doesn’t match the person you are on the outside at all, like a transgender person (I, myself, often feel like a lesbian woman inside a gay man’s body). The important thing by which to judge another person is not how different they are from you on the outside, but how much joy they bring to their own life and the lives of others.
One of the things which makes America great is its ability to learn and grow. Thankfully, all sodomy laws have been stricken from the books (SCOTUS: 2002 Lawrence v. Texas). Same-sex marriage must now be licensed and acknowledged in all 50 States (SCOTUS: 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges) and its corollary, same-sex couples, are free to adopt children. These advances were inevitable in our country specifically because of our foundations in liberty. Government didn’t grant these rights as they were already theirs; it simply removed the damage it had already caused sticking its nose where it never belonged in the first place. This should be a lesson to anyone who looks to government to do anything more than to defend our individual liberties (This includes forcing someone to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding who has religious beliefs holding it as wrong. Are they wrong for not baking it? Yes. Is it bad business? Certainly. But, asking the government to hold a gun to their head to make them bake it, is a violation of the wrong-headed baker’s individual liberties. Protest by taking your dollars somewhere else. Leave the government out of it.)
I wrote in a previous blog that America is exceptional and, unlike the ‘progressive’ notion that all cultures have equal value, is better than many other countries. Contrast our country with some of those in the middle-east who forbid homosexuality under the penalty of death. Progressives who support the LGBTQ+ community should check their hypocrisy on the issue and it’s contempt for the shortcomings of America, while simultaneously singing the praises of these theocratic governments. Certainly, there is more education needed in this country, but how far we’ve come as a nation should make, not just the LGBTQ+ community proud, but all Americans proud this month.