Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or just woke up from a coma, then you know the California Supreme Court upheld the ban on gay marriage.
I don’t think I was really shocked. All the early reports stated they felt the court would uphold the amendment. Of course like everyone else I hoped for the best. I don’t know that I felt anger. Or surprise. I just feel like it’s one more slap in the face when it comes to our being accepted as equal citizens. I have no doubt that in my lifetime all fifty states will recognize gay marriage. It will take a while but eventually even Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas will realize they have to get with the times. By that time of course there will be some new group that is being discriminated against. God knows…to be happy we have to hate someone.
And I discovered yesterday that for too many of us, that hatred is directed at ourselves.
After the ruling yesterday, like everyone else I know, I updated my Facebook status, and started responding to the status updates of my friends.
I found the following comment on my friend Kevin’s status:
To be honest, it’s our stereotypes that are keeping us down. People get a bias for a certain group of people based on previous experiences, and maybe if we all started acting like normal fucking people instead of every faggot in town acting super fabulous, we’d get the respect we deserve. Who knows?
I was somewhat outraged at this statement. Especially since it was coming from a gay man. What do you mean normal? What I realized after reading several other people’s pages is that there is a lot of self hatred in the gay community. There is a lot of internalized homophobia. How can we expect others to love us and let us live our lives as we want when we don’t even think that’s okay ourselves.
I kept coming back to the word “normal.” Normal? What is that? Who gets to decide?
That’s a big problem in our country. We’ve decided that everyone should behave normally. You should wear certain clothes. You should have a certain job with a certain income level. You should belong to the right clubs and drive the right car. You should…Well that’s the problem. “You should.” I will restate. What the fuck is normal? And who decides the standard to which everyone else is judged.
After much thought and debate about whether to respond to the above comment, I posted:
A question for you. What is normal? And who gets to decide? I’d really like to have the guidelines sent to me. Can I not wear the work boots I just bought? Or a pink shirt? Or a sweater from Bloomingdales? Or Pumas? Tight shirts? Baseball caps? Jewelry? Shoulder bags? What do we do with people who can’t pull off acting “straight” whatever that is? Should we put them in camps and water board them till they can spout how many home runs A-rod has hit this season? Should we shutter Broadway because “normal” straight men don’t do musical theatre. Or baking. Or lots of other things. Your idea that we should conform to the “normal” stereotype is feeding in to what the right wingers would have us believe…That we are not normal because we are gay. I’m not normal. And I don’t plan to be normal. Because I don’t know what that is. What I am going to do is continue to live my life the way I want. If some straight person who votes doesn’t like my clothing then screw them.
You know what’s really funny? Pandering to society’s expectations of you as a gay man. Falling in to the lispy stereotype and the bravado that people expect you to fall in to.
Who’s society? What expectations? The reason “people” hate gay men isn’t because they are lispy. It’s because we have sex with other men. There is more bad press about circuit parties and drug use than about lispy men. Most conservatives don’t mind us at all as long as we aren’t “practicing” our sexuality. In fact the Mormon church, the backer of Prop 8, doesn’t mind if you are gay. Only that you are actually having sex. The only people who really pander to society’s stereotypes are those who write straight acting on their Manhunt profile. I don’t know how to break it to you but the minute you put your penis in another man’s mouth you aren’t “straight” acting and you are no longer acting normal according to too many people in our society.
Someone else’s response:
In answer to your questions, Jeff, I would like to reiterate that common sense is a good guide in deciding what is “normal.” A better word than “normal” might be “appropriate.” A man on the sidewalk holding hands with another man and wearing a pink shirt and a shoulder bag is appropriate. A man on the sidewalk wearing assless chaps and licking another man’s face is inappropriate.
I was tired of arguing by this point and let it rest.
But what about “straight acting?” What about pandering to the stereotypes that have been created? What’s wrong with wearing assless chaps?
The reality is: Both of these men have been told that to be accepted by society we must fall into the acceptable “norm.” But I repeat my question one last time. What is normal? And the bigger question…What does that have to do with my ability to get married?
I was chatting with my friend Michelle today and told her about this exchange. I think she was perhaps more taken aback by the word “appropriate” than normal. It’s just as judgmental. Who gets to decide what’s appropriate? My mother? Your mother? The Pope? The President? Fred Phelps? The mega church down the street? The truth is nothing we do as “gay” people is considered acceptable by anyone who is fighting against us. We could get rid of all the assless chaps, and the drag queens, and the gogo boys and these people would still hate us vehemently. They like to trot these people out as an excuse to hate us because it’s something that will get the attention of everyone else. But at the end of the day they hate us because of who we are. And the truth is, if you, as a gay man, think the same thing, then you are just as homophobic as they are.
So stop fighting against your own cause. Come out of the closet. Stand up for who you are. Who you REALLY are. Not the person you think everyone else expects you to be. If you wanna lisp. Then lisp. If you want to wear pink sweaters and dance down the street then do it. If you want to hold your boyfriends hand in the middle of an outlet mall, in the middle of Pennsylvania then do it. (I did this over the weekend. It was great). If you want to wear assless chaps and lick your boyfriends face then fucking do it. Hiding in the back of the bus is never going to get us the recognition we want and deserve. It’s never going to get us the rights that we want and deserve. It’s taken a long time to get to this point myself. And there are times when I have to remind myself that I’m living my life for myself, not someone else. But now that I’m here, and awake and aware of who and what I want to be, I say FUCK EM with a capital F U C K. As long as I’m not hurting myself or anyone else, then who really cares about my assless chaps. Really?
AND WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MY RIGHT TO GET MARRIED?