Painful Conclusion

Under the bus-607I have come to this conclusion; no matter how convincing some of my conservative friends and family members are about supporting marriage-equality, they will never fully take a serious stance against their political party’s discriminatory views toward the LGBT community because gay-equality (my equality) does not directly affect them.

I have a niece who votes Republican. She claims to be pro-gay, yet her support for equality stops short of actually making a difference because of her staunch GOP affiliation. An example was during the Obama/Romney presidential election. Republican nominee Mitt Romney was adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage and spoke frequently about it during his campaign. He also was opposed to gays serving openly in the military and threatened to reverse President Obama’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The Republican party has a long history of discrimination against gays, which includes most recently, the prevention of The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) from becoming law. My niece voted for Mitt Romney anyway.

I have many lifelong “straight” friends, all of whom claim to fully support LGBT equality, but only a few have actively and vocally campaigned to end discrimination against the gay community through their political votes and/or activism. The others support equality, but not at the expense of voting outside of their politically conservative comfort zones. In other words, the below list of rights denied to gay couples is less significant to them.

(Credit for list goes to About.com)
  • Protection from Discrimination: In many states, you do not have the right to protection from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Joint Taxes: GLBT couples cannot file taxes jointly; as a result, taxes for a GLBT couple can be significantly higher.
  • Hospital Visitation: GLBT couples have no legal right to visit a spouse in the hospital and can be barred from entering the room by medical personnel.
  • Estate Taxes: GLBT couples cannot pass their estate to a spouse tax-free, which creates a huge tax burden that can result in the loss of a spouse’s home or business.
  • Job Security: In a majority of states, employees can be fired just for being gay.
  • Immigration: GLBT partners are denied special consideration for the immigration of a spouse, often resulting in a painful separation when a loved one is from a foreign country.
  • Property Taxes: GLBT partners must pay property tax when transferring property between spouses.
  • Social Security: GLBT partners are not eligible to receive a spouse’s Social Security pension or many other government benefits.
  • Medical Decisions: During a medical crisis, GLBT couples cannot legally make treatment decisions for their partners.
  • Domestic Violence: GLBT people cannot get domestic violence protection orders against a partner or former partner.

The scope of LGBT discrimination goes far beyond a list of legalities and rights. Social discrimination leads to bullying, violence, and even death. Suicide, depression, substance abuse, and poverty are common side-affects of LGBT discrimination.

What hurts the most deeply is my conservative family members’ and friends’ unwillingness to fully understand (or care) how their Republican vote continues to oppress and harm the quality of my life and the lives of several million other gay people across the country. Perhaps, one day, the Republican platform will change and accept full LGBT equality, but today isn’t that day.

Not surprising are the excuses given to me by the conservatives for their votes, as they tend to justify their choice by insisting “Republican policy” will make the nation prosperous and everybody will benefit by it. What that really means is; “I only care about your civil-rights if I don’t have to help you get them.”

Over the years, I have distanced myself from the people in my life that have minimized the importance of LGBT equality and replaced them with wonderful friends who have the ability, strength, and integrity to fight against inequality for us all.

In closing, I’d like to express how much my heart aches at being thrown under the bus by the same people who I have loved throughout my lifetime. I still care about them, but I will never fully believe their sincerity in saying they care about me. And that, my friends, is truly a loss because I can be fiercely devoted to those whom I trust and love.


Comments

Painful Conclusion — 20 Comments

  1. You have an excellent point. I wish that gay anything/everything was not an issue nor something that pulls friends/families apart. I honestly do not know what the answer is. I hate choosing. I hate being put in that position. Where does one draw the line?

    How can one vote for someone that they don’t trust, don’t believe a word they say, for the sake of the LGBT community? Isn’t that saying that “no matter what” is more important than what a person will accept in another?

    I personally have issues with a politician that has said his entire political career he’s against something. Election time is coming and SUDDENLY he has been enlightened. I call bogus on that and do NOT trust. I am more impressed if he/she gets enlightened without there being an election coming up. THEN I believe.

    I suppose I could ask you, would you vote for the opposing party to support a family member/friend instead of voting for the issues you want to vote for?

    • If someone I loved was being denied the same equal rights and protections that I enjoyed and my vote could help stop the discrimination against them? You better fucking believe I would vote for the opposing party!

      “How can one vote for someone that they don’t trust, don’t believe a word they say, for the sake of the LGBT community? Isn’t that saying that “no matter what” is more important than what a person will accept in another? ”

      Wow, that question says a lot about you doesn’t it, Kathy? And yes, a person’s civil rights are the MOST IMPORTANT thing!!! You just don’t have the ability to fully understand my point because you already have ALL of the rights granted to you as a “straight” citizen of this country.

      Do you believe it’s okay for me to be denied rights for the sake of your distrust of a politician? Obviously, you do believe that’s okay, otherwise you would have never asked the question. There is a reason most of your friends are conservatives, Kathy. Why don’t you just be honest and stop trying to play both sides. We’ve been through these conversations before and each time you dance around the issue with questions and scenarios, never admitting you would vote against the LGBT community, but we both know that you would throw all of your gay friends under the bus by voting for a politician with “family values” if you liked his message enough.

      • “…but we both know that you would throw all of your gay friends under the bus by voting for a politician with “family values” if you liked his message enough…”……….All I see you do is bitch bitch bitch about everyone else and what they don’t do for YOU, Steve. What makes you think that you are the most important person in the world? Why have you alienated your entire family, except the woman that birthed you? How come I never ever see you posting anything FOR the LGBT community. It’s always those against….like it’s an obsession, a mental issue. Not once have you ever posted anything that is an eye opener. It’s always negative and whiny. Don’t you want people to LEARN about gays and why people should choose YOUR politician over another? I have many gay friends and family members and I have never seen them be so upset about being gay. They fight the fight. They do rallies and whatever it takes to get their point across. The more anger I see from your posts, Steve, is the more I am convinced that you hate the world because you are gay instead of embracing it.

        • I haven’t alienated my entire my family, Kathy. My Republican niece and I have different points of view about how to politically solve the equality problem, but we don’t hate each another. Mostly my other family members fully support equality and vote accordingly.

          You are right about one thing, I am obsessed about hating inequality and will not be satisfied until the gay community is discrimination free, at least politically.

          Why don’t you see me post things “for” the gay community? What is there to post? We are regular people just like everybody else, unless you mean photos of gay pride or something and why would I post that? Are you posting photos of parties and parades from your town “for” the straight people?

          Why should a person have to “learn” about gay people to vote against inequality? Should not everyone, no matter their sex, race, religion, sexual preference, etc. be treated equally? Why do you need me to post an “eye opener” to help YOU decide if gay people are worth being treated fairly?

          I don’t hate the world, I hate the people in it who want to oppress and harm others. I actually love being gay, my mother loves me being gay, my friends love me being gay. I love my life with Wylde and our dogs. Our home is peaceful and filled with laughter and fun and love all of the time. Maybe that is why I am able to get so angry at the issues facing the LGBT community without totally losing my mind.

          I am not being whiny, I am being direct about my feelings. All of my “whiny” posts have everything to do with issues that are unjust toward people in some way or the other. Why should I waste time on people who have difficulty in deciding if others should be discriminated against or minimized?

          Here’s the thing…I wrote “under The Bus” to express my heartache over the discrimination against me and to explain why that pain continues to ache because of the political choices some people I love have made. You came into this post and made it about yourself. Instead of showing me (supposedly your friend) empathy, you went into debate mode and tried to pick apart my pain. I only defended myself, which I really should not have had to do in the first place.

          You are no longer welcome here.

  2. I can’t tell how many times I’ve heard “I’d like to help you but it really isn’t my fight.” “what can the two of us accomplish?” “do you think WE actually make a difference?” my foolish favorite one? Wait for it…” you think the gay community is even going to appreciate what little you can do for them?”
    FOR THEM????? IN THE LONG RUN ITS TRUELY FOR US ALL.!!!!

    Equal, equality… one for all, all for one. Sharing and caring, committing to supporting what’s right, not what someone has pressured you OUT of doing. Standing ALONE if you have to. Which I have and gotten beaten down verbally. I’m still considered it a WIN, why? BECAUSE I GOT RIGHT BACK UP AND WALKED THROUGH THE FIRE AGAIN…ALONE!

    • Of course we would appreciate what they could do for us, but people need to justify their actions so they feel right or less guilty. I do understand it’s a difficult choice for some to make when it comes to sacrificing something they believe in to help another. We are only human and by nature want to fend for ourselves first.

      My upset comes from the knowledge that, for some, there would be no real sacrifice or loss to side with equality, but their staunch political views and hatred for the “other side” far outweigh their compassion for those who are being discriminated against. And then there’s religious influence….I cannot even go down that road right now!

      I have had this debate so many times and I refuse to give up or give in. If the issue wasn’t about civil-rights being denied to a group of people, including women’s rights, I probably would not really care what political party someone belong to.

  3. As it happens, voting for LGBT rights enhances us all. What about that couple in Texas that can’t get their own names on their children’s birth certificates? When we deny a specific group their rights, not only is it wrong, but it makes it easier to deny the next group their rights – for example. just because I’m past child bearing age doesn’t mean I don’t continue to fight for women’s reproductive rights that are under attack all over this country. I also continue to fight for the rights of voters who are being disenfranchised all over this country through specious claims of voter fraud – in spite of PROOF that those claims are false. There has never been any effort from the right to fight for anyone other than the rich white men they’ve always supported. I believe that as a country we MUST stand up for the rights of all. So I write letters, sign petitions and engage in conversations with those I believe can be affected by that discussion. I’ve seen a couple change. So I, as a single voter have made those changes. My votes help protect the status quo and I hope continue to move us as a society toward our goal of equality for all. Until women have reproductive freedom and are treated equally on the job, by the police and everywhere, until the LGBT community has equal rights and protections (ENDA), until all legal citizens can vote without harassment – the fight is not won – our work is not done. I hope to live to see all these and more accomplished.

    • This is one of the many reasons I respect and admire you, Liz. It’s a damn shame you are not in office somewhere. I agree with everything you said and also hope we all live to see the day when these unfair social restrictions are no longer a threat to society. We must continue to fight against political oppressors in any way that we can. Some can do more than others, but every little bit helps. Women, Gays, Racial Minorities, will one day be the policy makers of this country and only then will we be truly free.

  4. The saddest part of all is that I know gay couples that not only continue to vote Republican themselves but are also staunch Catholics and attend church regularly. I was so dumbfounded by one of my clients (during a particularly heinous period of Catholic hatred/discrimination towards the LGBT community when they funded things like Prop 8) that I came out and asked him how he could continue to support the Catholic church. His response was that “his” parish was really good and he loved the Priest there. No one ever (asks) talks bad about him or his partner or even discusses the “gay thing” during Mass.

    • Don’t get me started on Gay Republicans, Janet! I don’t understand how a person can continue to support the Catholic church, or any organization or group, that promotes discrimination without being okay with it. Is it ignorance or lack of awareness? I personally take great offense to those who claim to support me, yet continue to support those who want to discriminate against and judge me for being born gay. I don’t believe or trust anything they say.

  5. When I was a youngster, I read two books, The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo, by Desmond Morris, a zoologist and sociobiologist. His views were largely panned by the book critics of the late 60s for including sexual reasons why humans do certain things. The books were of their time, and would no doubt seem dated today.
    However, some of the points he made really struck a chord with me. He opined that we are, after all, just apes, and that we carry on practices that are biological in nature. We form “troupes” in the exact same way that apes do. We stick to our troupes with a fierce loyalty, and will fight to the death to defend them. Human “troupes” are any gatherings of people who crave that ‘need to belong’, but can include armed forces, sports teams, religions, political parties or even eating habits (vegetarians, serial dieters etc.).
    People are primates, and as primates, once they have become an accepted member of a particular troupe, which may even be a single church congregation, or followers of a particular politician, they feel they are betraying their fellow members if they ‘jump ship’ and join another troupe.
    It is a warm and comforting idea that we are evolving into a more caring, all-enveloping society, but no matter what laws get changed, people will still emulate their ape ancestors, and have no qualms about stealing all the fruit from the forest floor and letting other apes starve, or beating a fellow chimp over the head with a rock.
    We have a long way to go.

    • I also read a novel around the same time with a similar theme. It was ‘Monkey Planet’ by Pierre Boulle. Originally published in French in 1963, it was later translated into English and became one of my favourite science fiction books when I was an early teen. It told of a whole planet of apes who had become roughly civilised, and could speak.
      The novel inspired the successful franchise of ‘Planet of the Apes’ films and TV series, which of course is enjoying a revival now.
      I suppose my (long-winded) point is that as a very young teen trying to make sense of the world around me, I suddenly felt enlightened. People have always been, and no doubt will continue to be, very tribal. One of the ways that people can be so very cruel and hurtful towards others of their same species is to dehumanise their chosen ‘enemies’. Once you have disassociated them as far away as possible from your own tribe, it makes it far easier to begin throwing your rocks…

    • We can always count on you to be the voice of reason, Rob. I’ve never looked at our evolution this way before. It makes perfect sense. Now, does anybody have a few extra rocks that I can use?

  6. Excellent points, all of them. But I would add that not only do our straight allies avoid political shaming by just avoiding the issue; saying they support but voting otherwise, but even within our own community this happens on a regular basis. People tend to vote in a manner that benefits – or SEEMS to benefit – themselves in some way, shape or form. Inside that secret voting booth all friendship ceases for self love and self protection it seems. Seriously, no one can SEE how they voted, only the individual KNOWS for sure how and why they voted any specific way. If they see an issue as causing them some sort of discomfort or pain (i.e. “I only care about your civil rights if I don’t have to help you get them.”) they will vote to help themselves FIRST and fuck the rest of the world. So if Republicans/Conservatives convince even a minute portion of the voters’ brains then the voter is likely to follow their lead – unfortunately and disgustingly.

    Today’s voting public has lost the whole idea of “we the people” and their “more perfect union” is one of the “not in my backyard” sort of thinking.

    My own father is a staunch Republican. He loves me, but he votes otherwise. It’s hard to swallow. But if my own taxes are going up because the lady that has 6 kids next door and wants equal education for each of them, and I don’t have kids…I am probably voting against the additional taxes to support her endeavor….see the rationale? maybe there is no rationale, but see the idea?

    Thanks for spurring a great rousing debate in my brain Steven! Now I am going to watch how and why I personally vote and support in the way that I do, as we all should be doing! Rock on!

    • Luckily, my mother is very supportive of equality and would never consider voting against my interests or her own. (although, at almost 85, it’s too difficult for her to go through the voting process anymore.) I can only imagine how hurtful it must be to know that your own father refuses to consider your civil-rights when he votes. It’s not as if the Democrats are going to destroy the country, or even have a noticeable affect on his life.

      I understand the voting dilemma so many of us experience, that is why I have narrowed it down to one singular and massively important issue. EQUALITY! Without equal rights and protections for every citizen of the United States, we can not grow as a nation. I have empathy for the woman with six kids, but it was her choice to have them, not mine or yours. Plus, she has more rights and protections than those of us in the LGBT community. So ask yourself, does a tax break outweigh equality?

      We cannot solve all of our nations problems with one vote, but we can create a foundation to start building on if we vote for equality first and all the rest second.

    • If only all of mankind shared your view, Kristine, we would truly have world peace. It’s a never ending battle. It started the day humans became humans and will not end until humans no longer exist. But in the meantime, it’s up to people like all of us who fight against injustices to change what we can while we are here.

    • With 19 states plus the District Of Columbia allowing gay-marriage and with court cases pending in all of the remaining states, it’s just a matter of time before marriage equality is law of the land. My hope is it sweeps the nation before the next Presidential election so it becomes a non-issue during the debates. That way I can go back to disliking the Republicans for the same old shit they always fight for….preventing health care, discriminating against women, preventing a minimum wage increase, etc..

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