I think I’ve been seeing fireworks on the Fourth of the July for as long as I’ve been alive–that’s 26 years. Like most children, they startled me when I was younger, but I’ve come to love the dancing lights and the thrashing thunder that follows every burst. As I watched the fireworks this year, behind a hotel in Cookeville, Tennessee, on my way home from my brother’s wedding in Texas, I began thinking of the daily freedoms I have because I’m a U.S. citizen: I can travel freely almost anywhere in the world, I can go to school and get a job doing anything I want, and for the past week and onward, I can marry anyone I please and have our marriage recognized throughout the entire country.
Today’s Independence Day. To celebrate our freedom, I’ve been planning to write a piece about self-determination, celebrating the power we each hold as individuals in the United States and encouraging people to embrace this power–to take charge of their lives, and more importantly, to take charge of their country.
But self-determination is a privilege of the modern world, and the freedom we have today came at cost far greater than any one of us could ever imagine–certainly far greater than even I could conceive.
I recently wrote about three myths of marriage I’ve heard in the LGBT community that suggest the movement is moving away from what’s currently our biggest victory. These feelings appear to be held by only a small number of LGBT individuals–but the movement away from marriage is hardly as contained. Instead, a second, more imposing message is causing young members of this group to especially rebel against marriage rights: It’s not the most important issue, they argue, so why are we fighting so hard to win it?
In many ways, they’re right (there are issues more important than marriage), but these issues shouldn’t detract from our fight for marriage inequality–and I believe if we allow them to, we’ll only slow the progress we’re making. Therefore, I’d like to share five reasons why marriage still matters–and why this empowers the LGBT community to turn the marriage battle–and its inevitable victory–into the all out war for equality we deserve.
Today marks the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling in the U.S. v Windsor, which struck down the section of DOMA that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. I can easily recall sitting in the same chair I’m sitting in now, waiting for the decision to be announced. It was such a hopeful moment, and with the victories we’ve gained since then, equality seems closer than ever before.
However, there’s a movement within the LGBT community that’s tainting this cause for celebration and making me angry: As equal marriage advances in the country one vote and one verdict at a time, there’s a small but growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals complaining about the heteronormativity of marriage–that is to say, they claim, the institution of marriage is a construct of straight culture.
And therefore, they go on, we should have no part in it.
But this thinking makes me mad. So very, very mad.
When protests began in New York City on September 17, coinciding with Constitution Day, most people had no idea what they were there for, if they knew of them at all. Certainly their mission seemed disjointed and unclear, and at best the media portrayed merely a mass of people with little else except a slogan: Occupy Wall Street. Surely no one knew where the idea came from–or that its origins weren’t even American.
Life’s like a box of chocolate. Life’s like flying a kite. Life’s like a ladder. An adventure. A roller coaster. The metaphors are endless (and the metaphors are similes while we’re at it). Whether we don’t know what we’ve got till we take a bite, whether we’ve caught the wind or we’re falling from afar, whether we’re climbing over a precarious angle, forging forward to a new frontier, or simply riding the world through a series of ups and downs and one too many loops than any of us wants to go through, life’s got a lot to give us.
This post marks my two hundredth post as the Writingwolf.
My life through this point has encapsulated each of these ideas, but these last few days, they’ve been one of the wildest rides I’ve ever ridden on. Let’s just say I made it around the turn alright.
Growing up I was like most little Jewish boys: I dreamed of having my own family, a good wife, a few children, going to services on all the major holidays, going through the melodies like rote, work in the mornings, love in the mid-morning hours of the night. I had crushes on girls in my class, because they seemed to be images of the perfect future girlfriend and wife my typical Jewish upbringing had instilled in me.
Or, more specifically,
Why You Shouldn’t Really Ask (Why We Shouldn’t Really Tell)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a great idea. We know this. We all know this. Why those men in politics are trying to change this fact baffles me. Of course we can all understand the reasoning for the whole thing: Straight men cannot control themselves, and since most men in the armed forces are naturally unable to think on a higher level, to put narrow-minded men around homosexuals without providing sufficient protection for the latter from the former is a ridiculous thing to do. So we made Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to help protect these harmless homosexuals from the men who mean them harm.
Some may argue that DADT was put in place because gay men are innately and unnaturally promiscuous, that all they want in the armed forces is a good hookup and some dropped soap in the showers, but these lies are only spewed by straight men who know the truth: That this law is merely for the protection of innocent homosexuals.
Everyone knows homosexuals are no more sexual than heterosexuals, and just the same, everybody knows that straight men are much more violent and uncontrollable than gay men will ever be.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been such a tremendous success (even despite those poor homosexuals who could not be sufficiently protected from these barbarian heteros and were subjected to cruel and unusual punishments on account of it, sometimes even death), that many bright-minded men and women believe we should apply this policy to other areas of our lives. Since obviously something as amazing as this will in time become a part of everything we do, I’ve decided to write about a few tentative examples of the various applications that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has for us.