A call for peace within our community
Recently, someone made the comment to me that we as members of the GLBT community of Dallas are more judgmental and critical of each other than those living outside of our rainbow bubble.
This has prompted me to question "How can this be?" How can we as unique human beings be so quick to judge others just because they’re not wearing $300 jeans, or they don’t have a full head of hair on their head, or they don’t spend hours upon hours in a gym just so they stand and model in a bar every Saturday night with their shirts off?
Have we forgotten all the trials and tribulations we as GLBT people have gone through all our lives and may continue to go through to gain a little acceptance in this world? Then why are we the ones judging and destroying each other?
Trust me, I am far from being an angel, but if we (and I am including myself) begin to take more responsibility for our thoughts, the words that come out of our mouths and our actions, wouldn’t our community and the world in general be a better, more peaceful place to reside?
I’ve heard the term "Dallatude" for the past four years. Is this something we want to be proud of?
Many say it’s like that in every gay community, but if Texans are so darn proud to live in this state then why don’t we take that into our own community?
I don’t know about you but I would much rather hear out-of-towners say, "Dallas has the nicest people of anywhere I’ve ever visited."
All I’m suggesting is when we get that urge to gawk at someone’s out-of-season shoes, or lean to a friend or partner and say, "Did you see how overweight that guy was?" that we change our consciousness. Be the first to smile as you walk past your fellow man; extend your hand to greet someone who has most likely experienced many of the obstacles you have in your life, or offer a hug to someone just to let them know that Dallas no longer wants to be referred to as having "Dallatude."
Imagine what our GLBT community would be like if we became more conscious of offering compassion, kindness, and respect rather than turning our noses up or laughing at members of our own neighborhood.
I guess we have to start somewhere so I’ll start with me.
No dumb blonde
Miss California, Carrie Prejean, is no dumb blonde.
Though I completely disagree with Miss Prejean, I do have to say, she made a very articulate point in her press conference this past week. When talking again about the issue of marriage equality and her beliefs she made this statement: "… the president of the United States, the secretary of state and many Americans agree with me in this belief."
And she’s right. You don’t have to do too much research on the Internet to see that Barack Obama does not support same-sex marriage. If you really want to hear the impact of that go to YouTube where you can find video of him making that statement to applause and see a host of comments in support of his statements.
Now, whether it is your belief that President Obama holds his belief for political reasons or otherwise, you have to admit it was an ace card for Miss Prejean to play in order to shore up support for herself and her belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
This is something that will strike a good nerve for people. The president does believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and you don’t see the levels of attack on Obama that you see on Miss Prejean.
It is one of those moments in a movement that make those movable middle folks go "hmmmm."
How do we strike back on this? Dialogue. Dialogue that is simple, factual and puts across our best points.
Rather than be hostile; be engaging. Rather than dismissing Prejean as some "dumb blonde" think about how you would talk with her, if given the chance, to try and change her mind on the issue.
Go even a step further and think about how you might change Obama’s mind as well. Use that to go out there and change the minds of the "many Americans" that Prejean spoke of so that we will instead have a unanimous majority who support marriage equality.
Speak of how if we are trying to support/protect/strengthen marriage, then isn’t it ridiculous for us to put up barriers to those who want to enter into a legal committed relationship with each other. Speak of how studies show that married couples are healthier and live longer.
With all the talk about the strain that our health care systems face, we should want to encourage healthier people through marriage equality.
Speak about how there are many children who are in the foster care system that are growing up in the system with no family and how same-sex couples would be happy to love, care for and raise those children to be productive adult members of society.
Speak of Maurice Sendak, the author of one of the most beloved children’s books, "Where the Wild Things Are," who is gay and who lived with his partner for 50 years. The only reason that they are no longer living together is that Sendak’s partner died.
Gives kind of an impressive meaning to that whole "til death do us part" bit in the vows, huh?
Speak of your own stories. Speak of your own long-term relationships, your contributions and the contributions of many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender folks through history — both long ago and up through this current time of ours — who have helped make the world a more positive place.
When we do this, when we make our voices heard; when we raise up our own chorus of positives about why we should be equal, then we can better deflate the arguments of those who oppose us and win over more of those to support us.
Don’t fight for unequal ‘marriage’
Much has been written recently about gay marriage. I’d like to add my two cents worth.
First, without equivocation, I must state that I am against gay marriage. "Marriage" is a term to describe a relationship between a man and a woman. Its roots are based upon notions of inequality that I think self-respecting gay couples would want to avoid.
Look at the story of Adam and Eve, the first "married" couple. If you believe the story, Eve was made from Adam’s rib; her life sprang out of his.
He, as the husband, gave of his body to give her life; she as the wife, accepted what was given to her. For hundreds of years, married women were not allowed to own property; their property became their husband’s upon marriage.
As recently as the 20th Century, some states recognized the concept of the "unity of marriage," meaning that once married, the wife became as one with the husband, having no individual rights of her own.
Even today some marriages carry a connotation of the superiority of the husband over the wife.
Do gay couples really want to ape a relationship that was built on inequality and superiority? I say "no."
I think we would all be better off dropping the drive to recognize gay marriage and pursuing instead a drive to legally and socially create a new institution for same-sex couples. Call it "civil union" if nothing more creative comes to mind.
A civil union between two persons of the same gender would be based upon mutuality and equality. Gay persons choosing this new institution would have all the legal rights and social acceptance as men and women have in the institution of marriage.
Proponents of gay marriage cite arguments of equality as the reason for supporting gay marriage. If we truly believe in equality, we should become proponents of something truly equal, a civil union, and leave the historical baggage of "marriage" to the life partnerships of men and women.
Thanks for the great article
Arnold Wayne Jones’ article about my art ("Blurring the lines," Dallas Voice, May 8) is wonderful. Thanks to him for so accurately capturing the essence of what I shoot and what is important to me. It was a great article.
TO SEND A LETTER
We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters and those addressing a single issue are more likely to be printed. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include your home address and a daytime telephone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or sent via the U.S. Postal Service (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas TX 75204). All letters become the property of Dallas Voice.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 15, 2009.