Every fourth November, America elects a president. And every fourth January, we inaugurate that president on the steps of the United States Capitol, typically in freezing weather. Despite the freeze, hundreds of thousands of Americans show up to hear the newly-elected President speak, to see him walk the road to the White House, and to enjoy a parade that celebrates all that is wonderful about our democracy.
Every now and then, a president steps up to the podium to deliver his (or someday, hopefully, her) address to the country, and makes history in so doing. Last time, it was the nation’s first African-American president who, just by virtue of being African-American, was able to make history. This time, he did it again — by acknowledging, for the first time, the civil rights battle of our generation:
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
– Barack Obama
Sure, it’s just a single sentence pulled out of a 20-minute speech. Sure, that’s relatively minor. But, even in Western democracies, such a statement is considered quite notable and unprecedented when given by the leader of a country. Sure, it’s been said by lesser politicians, but the figurehead of a major Western power? Not until today.
Hearing those unprecended words from our first-ever African-American president on this Inauguration Day, which happens to fall on the one day a year when we explicitly honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was more powerful than can be reasonably explained in words. At least, it was for me — and, judging by headlines and reactions, for many other Americans with a vested interest in the movement for LGBT equality here and around the world.
I sometimes have my disagreements with Barack Obama, which should be expected since I am far to his political left. But not a day goes by when I am not extremely, extremely, extremely proud of my vote and thankful for the outcome of the past two elections.
Now, back to work.
I have a couple friends who, okay, this might offend some people, but they can’t match an outfit. They can’t shop. They don’t even talk with a lisp or a limp wrist. I think they might be straight, but I don’t want to offend them by asking if they’re straight. I mean, it’s not a big deal anymore. There are straight people everywhere. But I’m not just going to ask. That would be rude.
But every day, I mean, am I the only one who sees how obvious it is? I have all of these guy friends and all their friends are guys, except one or two girls who they act really suspicious around. Should I assume? Should I invite my male friends — and these “girls” — to events at my apartment? Is that the polite thing to do if you don’t know?
They drink beer. I like beer, too, but that doesn’t mean they’re gay or I’m straight. Oh my god, my liking of beer doesn’t mean I’m straight does it? Because the vagina, it creeps me out a little bit and I’m not sure I could fit my square peg into that hole. Whoa, pardon the pun.
So I guess I’ll just wait until my straight friends come out of their mismatched, haven’t-shopped-since-I-got-my-driver’s-permit closets. Then it’ll be obvious. Those girls, they must be girlfriends. But they’re friends with multiple girls. Oh well, straight thing. Slutty. You know how they can be with girls and hookups and all that nonsense at the bars.
How Ridiculous is This?
The “Jodie Foster Incident” at last night’s Golden Globes has prompted me to think just a little. Why the hell did I have to come out, but none of my straight friends had to have a deep discussion about the meaning of love and confess their unending love of women to me? Why the double standard? What is “coming out” anyway? My black friends don’t walk into a room and announce their skin color (usually). My blonde friends don’t have deep, heartfelt conversations about the meaning of having a genetic defect determine their hair color.
Who the fuck cares? Honestly. Why do I have to tell? Why do you have to know? Why can’t kids everywhere just wake up tomrorow, go date someone, and it doesn’t matter what gender it is? If we’re going to talk seriously about LGBT rights and marriage equality, then we have to talk about coming out.
Who cares about Jodie Foster’s sexual orientation? Or mine? Other than the guy I’m dating and the woman she recently broke up with after quite some time, who does it affect? If the answer is anything other than “no one” then we can safely assume that’s due to selfishness, bias, or bigotry. Right?
Coming out is stupid. News flash: I find some members of the human race attractive, and I date them, and I love one of them, and that makes me really happy.
How controversial and unexpected.