Worth Repeating: Gay Rights = Human Rights

23 Dec

We’ve blogged about this before, but the recent spate of Don’t Ask Don ‘t Tell articles makes it worth repeating. Gay Americans – soliders, sailors, or otherwise – aren’t asking for anything special. What we want is the same basic rights that all citizens have. Unfortunately, because a vocal minority is able to convince an apathetic or malleable bare majority that gays are icky, we need some measure of legal protection to achieve equality.

DADT repeal has launched another round of debates in the media about gay rights. The coverage this time is actually pretty positive but often misses the point. The discriminatory policy served no purpose other than to dehumanize a whole group of people. Sadly, that dehumanization is part of the fabric of American life. It may be unravelling (slowly), but it is still present. Just look at the online comments on any newspaper article or editorial about DADT and you’ll see the attitudes of everyday citizens that still believe gay people are dangerous, (ironically) militant grabbers of special privileges. One expects underinformed or bigoted rhetoric from an SPLC-designated hate group like the Family Research Council, but sadly many people are pulled in by that sort of rhetoric and repeat it.

Three key points that constantly get overlooked:

  1. “Telling” does not have to be overt. My brother is retired Army and served mostly in Texas and Germany, where he lived with his wife and kids. He was able to invite his fellow soldiers over and have them see his family without worrying about it. A gay soldier would be denied that simple, human dignity.
  2. Explicit or implicity, statements about being gay are NOT inherently aggressive or sexual. When I mention my husband, I’m simply identifying the most important person in my life. I’m not being pushy or inviting you to dwell on our personal behavior. If your mind jumps straight to the bedroom, I suspect you need some help.
  3. Affection is not icky, no matter who the affectionate couple might be. There is a horrible double-standard that allows gay people to be clown eunuchs but not to be part of loving couples. A kiss is still a kiss… (P.S. Over-affectionate behavior in public can be icky, no matter who the affectionate couple may be.)

I’m very glad DADT was repealed and I look forward to the complete implementation of the new policy. I’m glad that reporters used repeal to ask the President about his “evolving” stand on marriage equality. For a rare moment, I’m feeling like the conversation is headed in the right direction again. As it does, I encourage everyone to remember the central question: Why does any one individual get to decide the set of rights that apply to any other individual? Gay rights are human rights. It’s that simple.

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8 Responses to “Worth Repeating: Gay Rights = Human Rights”

  1. Jennifer December 23, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Umm… is it wrong if I find public displays of affection icky if they’re between ugly people? I mean, I don’t mind watching attractive people kiss (man-man, woman-woman, man-woman, etc), however, I just find it icky if they’re ugly… or related to me. Never need to see that….

  2. Jennifer December 23, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    My heart hates uggos….

    • Jennifer December 23, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

      PS: This is a quote from scrubs. I don’t actually hate ugly people. I just don’t think that they should be allowed to kiss in public. Or have children… unless there are some really good genes hidden in there somewhere. I’m all about equal rights, but only on a very surface level.

  3. Jennifer December 24, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    It’s from a tv show called “Scrubs.”

  4. zero1ghost February 17, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    i’m a fan! great post! even funnier conversation below. ugly people are people too! i’m not only a member, i’m also the president 😉

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